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Our enormous daily intake of both misinformation and its more nefarious cousin, disinformation, has sickened our democracy with a kind of heart disease that is threatening to give America a massive coronary. 

The few billionaires feeding us this garbage have no incentive to stop. Sacha Baron Cohen infamously dubbed them the Silicon Six and, no, these aren’t villains from a Borat movie. They are: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Alphabet’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s Sundar Pichai, YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.

On Thursday , half of this rogue’s gallery — Zuckerberg, Dorsey and Pichai — will sit before Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver and her colleagues on the House Energy and Commerce Committee trying to convince us that they have everything under control. 

DeGette should tell Zuck and his accomplices that it’s time to fix what they’ve broken.  It’s time to pay restitution.

They can start by paying a Disinformation Consumption Fee for every user on their platform. It’s like a carbon tax, but for lies.   

Any social media company that collects its users’ data to target them with ads and content would pay the fee. Companies that don’t use surveillance tactics would not.

A Disinformation Consumption Fee could bring in billions of dollars to fight the forces of falsity. An annual $40 per user fee on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook would generate $26 billion a year.   

Learn how Congress could spend their billions to protect us and our democracy: https://link.medium.com/Jieqz3syLeb 

Tom Cosgrove

Producer, "Divided We Fall: Unity Without Tragedy"

Boulder 

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