There was a lot of talking about this after basically all incidents where high profile people got censored on social networks for what they posted there or sometimes even got banned for it. And every time it ended with: “yeah well, they are private company and they can do whatever they please since it’s their social network, but…”
This idea only supposedly holds true if the government is censoring people, which by the First Amendment in America, it’s not allowed to. I’m not aware of any law here in Europe that entitles us to same level of freedom of speech. I guess we have something similar, but it’s not as prominent as famous First Amendment in US, which is why I’m not aware of it off the top of my head.
Three reasons why I think this is bullshit and why private companies should be held to the same standards as governments when it comes to free speech:
1. Laws like First Amendment were written down in times when there was NO concept of internet or social media. At all. It was designed for forms of media existing back in those days, which was basically just public communication in person and newspapers, maybe? Today, media in general spans far wider and as we can see already, social networks are far more important and effective than any other form of communication, especially when it comes down to pushing ideologies or shaping global political landscapes.
2. Companies can do it on behalf of the government and allow governments to censor people unpunished. It’s not like they’ll gonna brag about it, so, if no one finds out, no harm done by the government, right? Nice example of that was Facebook censoring Germans when they expressed concerns over “Syrian refugees”. Anyone daring to talk about that or even criticize Angela Merkel for allowing this mass immigration from Middle East got punished on Facebook by a ban or demand to delete those kind of messages, because Germany’s government and Facebook made a censorious agreement in that regard. Of course they weren’t bragging about it, but it’s not like people wouldn’t find out…
3. Third and in my opinion most important reason, social networks these days are bigger than most governments. In fact they are bigger than biggest governments combined. And since they are so effective at shaping narratives or pushing certain messages to millions and billions of people, they should be held to the same standards as governments when it comes to free speech. Especially because these very same social networks dictate how governments are perceived or shaped by the voters based on how company itself is aligned on the political map. For example, in Twitter’s case, they are very much aligned with the pushing of feminist bullshit and hating the people who align with the political right. Facebook censoring people who have an opinion over Middle Eastern immigrants taking over their country. Yes, they are private companies, but they affect real life countries and governments more than anything else these days. If you ask me, that very much makes them involved with the governments and lives of people under certain government and thus they are doing censorship in the name or on behalf of governments. And such behavior should be prohibited by a worldwide global law(s).
Social networks should be neutral
Because of the above three reasons, social networks should be neutral and should not side with anyone, because they are already too involved with governments no matter how much everyone denies it. And yes, this is censorship and silencing of people. I don’t give a fuck if a social network is run by a private company. It’s clearly and very much visibly affecting real world governments and people under them and not necessarily in a positive way. Technologies and media change, but laws remained the same. Laws need to be updated for current modern times to ensure this neutrality and actual freedom of speech. Yes, also by enforcing this on private companies like Twitter and Facebook.
Only question is, which government will be the first one to enforce it? I have very little hope for Germany given recent events and it’s not looking particularly good for United States either, despite existing First Amendment… There might be some hope in France maybe. French know how to do revolutions. But in the end, governments are benefiting from all of this, why would they interfere with it? This is my main concern why things might never change or improve…
What’s your opinion on this? Let me know in the comments down below.