Let’s talk about the one thing everyone knows is happening, but no one really knows how to fix. Censorship.
It’s no secret that voices have been deliberately targeted on social media like nobody’s business over the last year and a half. Content creators have had their videos demonetized and their accounts heckled on YouTube. Accounts are being shut down on Twitter and Facebook, suspended for “hate speech” and alleged violations of incredibly vague “community standards.” And (*spoiler alert*) about 90% of the accounts being targeted belong to Conservative and Right Wing voices. Milo Yiannopoulos. Michael Savage. Richard Spencer. The National Policy Institute. The Radix Journal. Martin Shkreli. Kaya Jones and Joy Villa. Most recently, Rose McGowan, Infowars, and Roger Stone.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure the list is far longer than that.
My point? The duplicitous censorship being perpetrated by Twitter, Google, and Facebook is getting dangerous. Conservatives often get locked out of their accounts, suspended, or banned altogether for doing nothing more than attempting to expose the truth about Islam, Hollywood, Third Wave Feminism, the Clintons…you name it. They speak out, they’re silenced.
This is like, “How to Create Dystopian Societies for Dummies,” ladies and gents. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
One side of the political spectrum is targeted for having opinions that diverge from the collective. One by one these voices are preened from the platforms until all that remains is the content Big Brother deems it acceptable for you to hear, read, or see. Information it wants repeated ad nauseam until it eventually becomes synonymous with “the truth,” and the populace is left none the wiser.
There was a time I would’ve called people who believed these things conspiracy theorists. But watching it happen with my own eyes, and seeing it happen to my friends and to me? It really wakes a girl up.
What makes this even worse is the fact that Leftist accounts (including Antifa, the Muslim Brotherhood, and an endless army of SJW morons) are allowed to masquerade under false pretenses, abuse Conservatives and Right Wingers and threaten their very lives without fear of retribution.
Anyone who speaks out against these companies’ political agendas instantly becomes a target. Folks, there comes a point when saying, “Twitter is a private company; it can censor whoever it wants,” stops being an argument.
We are at that point.
This is not about making anything fair. This is about allowing the public to express themselves freely on the internet (i.e. the public square of the 21st century) without fear of being silenced by corporations that seem to have as much (if not more) sway than the government itself these days.
“But Tiana,” you say. “The First Amendment only applies to the government. Not private companies. Twitter/Google/Facebook isn’t the government.”
Sorry. But that argument is disingenuous.
While Twitter and Facebook may not be “monopolies” by the textbook definition, and while they may not be “the government,” they certainly hold market dominance, as does Google. They may be “private companies,” but they hold 90% of the social media market in the palms of their hands right now. In a world like ours, in which cyberspace has become the proverbial battlefield for companies and entrepreneurs vying for exposure, searching for clientele, and attempting to build a brand for themselves, the alternatives are not nearly good enough. For all intents and purposes, they do have a monopoly on the social media industry.
And simply calling for “support for alternative platforms” will not fix this problem.
Sure, I’m free to stop using Facebook and Twitter anytime I’d like. But there are no comparable alternative platforms at my disposal that would yield the same results that Twitter, Facebook, and Google have managed to yield in my favor re: exposure and sales.
That's the problem. So the masses will be using decent tech products, while those who support your way of thinking are stuck with bing? https://t.co/bTavGrcO5X
— Stefanie MacWilliams (@StefMacWilliams) October 30, 2017
This is probably one of the only times you will ever hear me advocate for more government. Ever.
Because choosing between a livelihood that depends on the exposure I glean from social media versus being censored by said media for my political opinions, is an impossible choice to make. One I should not have to make in the first place, since this is America and all.
I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again. Constitutional and legal measures should be put in place to protect Americans from having their right to free expression taken from them. By anyone.
For Constitutional conservatives and many on the right, this is not a cavalier concept.
First things first, though. The air needs cleared re: antitrust laws, which would be the government’s best way of intervening in behalf of its people. Antitrust laws regulate the conduct of business organizations, the three main statutes of which are the Sherman Act of 1890, the Clayton Act of 1914, and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914. Collectively, these laws restrict mergers and acquisitions that could substantially lessen competition, and basically prohibit the formation of monopolies and cartels. These laws do not apply only to monopolies. So the argument that antitrust laws cannot be utilized here is also disingenuous.
Bottom line: no one should own the public square, least of all social media companies. Because the internet has now become a platform for engagement in the public sphere, attempts made by social media companies to curtail people’s right to access lawful information should be penalized by the government. This ensures diversity of opinion/viewpoint, the one form of diversity I actually support. Without some form of consequence in place for these social media giants to discourage them from censoring opinions that diverge from their political agenda, we will eventually find ourselves living in a society mirroring that of North Korea.
Social media companies are knee-deep in the political game in 2017. Anyone who tells you differently is lying to you.
Or they just want to win the argument.
Ultimately, the only way to preserve the beauty and allure of our republic is to preserve freedom of expression. Without it, we’re no different from anyone else out there.