BlackRock Invests in Censorship + More




Newsweek reported:

Why is BlackRock, the largest investment firm in the world, promoting censorship? That is a question clients might want to ask after BlackRock cast its shareholder votes against a proposal designed to ensure transparency in how Big Tech platforms respond to government demands for censorship.

The proposal was sponsored by the National Legal and Policy Center, which I chair. As a shareholder in Alphabet, the parent of Google, we asked the company to provide a report, updated semi-annually and published on its website, that would disclose requests from "the Executive Office of the President, Centers for Disease Control or any other agency or entity of the United States Government" to remove or take down material from its platforms.

The resolution was a response to widespread concerns that the Biden administration is suborning censorship by major social media platforms. This would be a clear violation of a 1963 Supreme Court ruling, in Bantam Books, Inc. vs. Sullivan, prohibiting private entities from engaging in suppression of speech at the behest of government — which, the Court held, has the same effect as direct government censorship.

The proposal lost badly after the unsurprising opposition of Alphabet's management, but also because big investment firms — most prominently BlackRock — voted against it. Events since the June 1 shareholders' meeting, however, make BlackRock's "no" vote look much worse.