That Executive Order To Stop the Censoring of Conservatives Isn’t What You Think It Is

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By Dagny Taggart

The White House reportedly has an Executive Order in the works that would put two government agencies in charge of regulating how Big Tech companies moderate and curate content on their platforms.

News of the EO follows months of increasingly angry complaints from conservatives about social media companies’ alleged bias against them. If you follow President Trump on Twitter, you have likely noticed that he has been engaged in a years-long virtual war with social media platforms over this alleged bias (even though Twitter has never banned him or removed any of his Tweets).

Politico was the first to report the existence of the draft EO:

The White House is circulating drafts of a proposed executive order that would address allegations of anti-conservative bias by social media companies, according to a White House official and two other people familiar with the matter — a month after President Donald Trump pledged to explore “all regulatory and legislative solutions” on the issue.

None of the three would describe the contents of the order, which one person cautioned has already taken many different forms and remains in flux. But its existence, and the deliberations surrounding it, are evidence that the administration is taking a serious look at wielding the federal government’s power against Silicon Valley. (source)

The White House official told Politico:

“If the internet is going to be presented as this egalitarian platform and most of Twitter is liberal cesspools of venom, then at least the president wants some fairness in the system. But look, we also think that social media plays a vital role. They have a vital role and an increasing responsibility to the culture that has helped make them so profitable and so prominent.” (source)

Once politicians start using words like “fairness” and “responsibility”, be wary.

Be very wary.

Why? Because the use of those terms usually means some kind of legislation that will likely not be “fair” is impending.

While many libertarians and conservatives believe (rightfully so) they are being censored in one way or another by platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it is important to understand that when the government starts to regulate things, we all ultimately pay the price. That’s because once the government starts meddling in private affairs, it does not stop there. More laws lead to more laws, and so on – it is a vicious cycle.

What kinds of penalties would companies face for alleged censorship? No one seems to know yet.

None of the three people Politico contacted could say what penalties (if any) would be imposed on companies deemed to be censoring political viewpoints. “The order, which deals with other topics besides tech bias, is still in the early drafting stages and is not expected to be issued imminently,” Politico reports.

“The President announced at this month’s social media summit that we were going to address this and the administration is exploring all policy solutions,” a second White House official said when asked about the draft order.

The agencies Trump wants to regulate platforms are not authorized to do so.

The draft EO calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. Although still in its early stages and subject to change, the draft EO also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies.

However, the federal government’s options are limited by the First Amendment. And, a provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which both protects online platforms from liability for content their users post and empowers the companies to remove content without fear of liability, creates another obstacle. That provision, Section 230, has increasingly come under fire from lawmakers of both parties who are frustrated with tech companies’ content moderation practices.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects companies from legal responsibility for content posted on their platforms, like hate speech, violence, and graphic images. That’s why social media companies are generally allowed to moderate themselves as long as they’re operating in “good faith.”

But the new executive order would put all of that content moderation under the FCC’s purview, CNN reports. The government agency would be able to take away a company’s legal immunity if it removes or hides content without notifying the poster. The FCC can also strip the “good faith” immunity if it decides a company is acting unfairly or deceptively when hiding or removing content. (source)

The White House is crossing some serious lines with this Executive Order.

Back in May, the White House announced that it had created an online form where Americans can share instances in which they’ve been censored by social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. The form, which is now closed to new submissions, asked users to share their contact information, social media links, their citizenship and residency status, and links or screenshots of any social media content they’ve posted that was censored by Facebook or its Instagram service, Twitter, or Google’s YouTube.

“This permission grants the U.S. Government a license to use, edit, display, publish, broadcast, transmit, post, or otherwise distribute all or part of the Content (including edited, composite, or derivative works made therefrom),” read the user agreement for the form.

But the White House effort may be complicated by skepticism in some agencies involved in the discussions about tech policy, Politico reports:

The Republicans at the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission have said publicly that they don’t see a role for their agencies in policing companies’ online content. The FCC and FTC have joined the Justice and Commerce departments in discussions about the potential bias crackdown.

“There’s very little in terms of direct regulation the federal government can do without congressional action, and frankly I think that’s a positive thing,” said John Morris, who handled internet policy issues at the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration before leaving in May.

He added: “Although the government may be able to support and assist online platforms’ efforts to reduce hate and violence online, the government should not try to impose speech regulations on private platforms. As politicians from both sides of the political spectrum have historically urged, the government should not be in the business of regulating speech.” (source)

“It makes no sense to involve the FCC here,” Berin Szoka, president of the libertarian-leaning think tank TechFreedom, told CNN. “They have rule-making authority, but no jurisdiction — they can’t possibly want to be involved. It would be an impossible position.”

Some people close to the tech industry expressed frustration that the White House seemed to be trying to have it both ways — excoriating tech companies for allegedly censoring conservative speech, a claim the platforms vigorously dispute, while castigating them for failing to block enough violent or hateful content. “The internal inconsistency of this is outrageous,” one of them said. (source)

This executive order would create Internet Speech Police.

In a TechFreedom post titled Draft Social Media Bias Executive Order Would Create Real Internet Speech Police, Szoka said:

Trump’s proposed executive order would transform the FCC and FTC from consumer protection agencies into regulators of online speech. Ironically, the same people screaming about ‘censorship’ by private companies would empower regulators to decide what kinds of online speech should and shouldn’t be taken down. That Republicans, after decades of fighting government meddling in broadcasting, now want their own Fairness Doctrine for the Internet is staggeringly hypocritical. (source)

It is important to remember that social media platforms are protected by the First Amendment because they are private companies. They have the right to exclude anyone from their platforms for any reason at all. The First Amendment protects us from government censorship, not censorship by private companies.

A journalism professor who specializes in First Amendment law, Jared Schroeder elaborates:

Confusing social media companies with public spaces — such as parks and sidewalks —the order mistakenly claims jurisdiction where it has none. Public spaces are held in trust by the government and generally cannot limit expression because of the ideas that are expressed.  The online forums Facebook and Twitter provide are more comparable to a supermarket, shopping mall, or one of the president’s golf courses. The corporations own the spaces, which remain private. If customers dislike the space, they can show their displeasure by shopping — or golfing — elsewhere.

The First Amendment does not apply to private spaces, since it only protects us from government restrictions on expression. If a TV network removes a show because one of the actors shares racist ideas, this is not government censorship. It’s a business decision. When Facebook or Twitter blocks someone or removes a post, however fair or unfair, that is not a First Amendment concern. (source)

“The government cannot force these companies to open up their sites and associate with viewpoints that their owners and shareholders find objectionable, any more than it can force you to display government-approved speech on your private property,” as attorney Daniel Ortner explains in an article for The Hill.

Aware of these constitutional limits, critics of Facebook or Twitter have taken a different tack and argued that if social media companies filter content in any way, they should be liable for anything that is posted on their platform.

This gives Facebook an awful choice: filter nothing or aggressively filter all content to exclude anything remotely libelous or offensive to anyone. Faced with a choice of being sued or losing the ability to prohibit even the most shockingly immoral material — including such things as neo-Nazi propaganda, dog-fighting videos, or snuff films (which the Supreme Court has said are protected under the First Amendment) — what would you do?

Why would anyone believe this dynamic would lead to more freedom of speech on the internet? It more likely would lead to drastically less freedom of expression as platforms impose far more rigid content filters. Say goodbye to being able to instantly tweet what comes to your mind. (source)

Government regulation of social media platforms would lead us down a slippery slope.

“The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that the actions of people – and especially of government – always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended. Economists and other social scientists have heeded its power for centuries; for just as long, politicians and popular opinion have largely ignored it,” Rob Norton explains in The Library of Economics and Liberty.

Whenever a government enacts a new piece of legislation or creates new regulations, we see the law of intended consequences in action.

“The first and most complete analysis of the concept of unintended consequences was done in 1936 by the American sociologist Robert K. Merton. In an influential article titled The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action, Merton identified five sources of unanticipated consequences,” Norton writes.

While Merton’s analysis is worth reading in its entirety, it is the third source he identifies that is relevant to this article:

Merton labeled the third source the “imperious immediacy of interest.” By that he was referring to instances in which someone wants the intended consequence of an action so much that he purposefully chooses to ignore any unintended effects. (That type of willful ignorance is very different from true ignorance.)

The Food and Drug Administration, for example, creates enormously destructive unintendedconsequences with its regulation of pharmaceutical drugs. By requiring that drugs be not only safe but efficacious for a particular use, as it has done since 1962, the FDA has slowed down by years the introduction of each drug. An unintended consequence is that many people die or suffer who would have been able to live or thrive. This consequence, however, has been so well documented that the regulators and legislators now foresee it but accept it. (source)

In his piece for The Hill, Ortner goes on to ask a thought-provoking question:

Maybe you like the idea of President Trump’s appointees deciding what must or must not be posted on social media — but how will you feel if it’s President Sanders, President Warren, or President Biden? (source)

If the proposed EO becomes reality, it would set a dangerous precedent when it comes to freedom of expression, particularly since the government would decide what “fair” means.

We should be very careful what we ask for when it comes to government regulation of, well – anything.

What do you think?

Do you think the government should regulate social media platforms? Have you ever been censored on one of those platforms? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

About the Author

Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

Dagny Taggart

Dagny Taggart

Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

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29 Responses

  1. Bad Idea! Any regulation of Social Media is a really bad idea and a step in the direction of living like the characters in George Orwell’s 1984.

    The US has always had propaganda in media. The wise see through it. The fools buy into it.

    Any regulations will be twisted to the radical Left’s advantage when they elect the next DemonRat.

  2. Dagny,

    I’m with you on this. It’s bad enough when private businesses engage in censorship but government regulation will ALWAYS devolve into government censorship and loss of freedom.

  3. No one is suppressing/censoring “conservatives”. Snowflakes indeed. Funny how we don’t hear those clamoring about censorship when it applies to China, Russia, North Korea. And they have no qualms about gag rules when it comes to reproductive rights. These same snowflakes think porn should be censored. This smacks of crying “judicial activism” when a judge/court doesn’t rule as one thinks it should.

    Your employer can fire you if s/he does not like the political bumper sticker on your car. I don’t hear them complaining about that.

    Website owners set their own rules. Any one of us can be banned from this site or any other site.

    So to them I say put up or shut up – start up your own site(s) and post away or quit crying.

    1. First, I urge you to comment with less aggression – we’re having a friendly and civil conversation here. You will find people of many different political beliefs, religions, races, and ethnicities here. You don’t need to comment “on the attack.” We’re here to converse.

      Secondly, you are so very wrong about the censorship.

      I’m not a conservative but I assure you I have absolutely been censored because my views are not supportive of liberal politics and political correctness. Big Tech is owned by people with liberal politics. Everyone has the right to be liberal, conservative, anarchist or voluntaryist as they see fit and I support that.

      But I have been severely and demonstrably punished by Google algorithms. Although I have 32K followers on Facebook I’m lucky if 500 of them see my posts. I can give you many examples of other sites who aren’t part of the status quo who have been likewise silenced.

      Also, you haven’t been reading long enough if you don’t think I’m complaining about people being fired for bumper stickers.

      Best wishes,
      Daisy

      1. Dearie, you may have been complaining about people being fired for bumper stickers but the person attempting to enact the EO and those around him who support his EO certainly have *not* been complaining. Lo siento if I wasn’t clear before.

        Google algorithms (and other algorithms) are tailored for maximum revenue. “Conservatives” (note the quotes), aka the republican (note small r) party, posts about immigrants, LGBTQs, working women, non-christians etc. are not embraced by the majority of those using Facebook etc. A business will tailor to what makes them money.

        Change is happening faster than ever. For those who cannot/will not handle/accept change it is going to be a long and most likely unhappy time. And like it or not, Caucasians in the US are a shrinking minority. Mortality is something no one can change. The wise person figures out how to adapt.

        The hypocrisy (and lies) needs to be called out – either deficits matter or they don’t. They can’t matter if someone of the other party is in the White House then they don’t if someone else is in the White House. EOs are another example of hypocrisy. Bottom line – the Founding Fathers never intended or foresaw career politicians. What is an Originalist to do?

    2. Selena, your arrogance is surpassed only by your ignorance.

      Conservative channels are routinely blocked and harassed by YouTube. Twitter and Facebook also have a history of blocking conservative accounts for stupid, “Trumped” up reasons. Case in point, McConnell’s Twitter account being locked after death threats against him were reposted in a tweet.
      Censorship in Communist countries has long been decried on both sides of the political aisle.
      Threats against abortion clinics are taken seriously and are acted upon accordingly by local authorities. Death threats against the personnel are taken seriously by EVERYBODY and are investigated by the FBI in cooperation with local police.
      Since porn exploits men, women and children, often held captive and drugged or coerced into compliance, it should be censored. And parents don’t want their children to be able to access porn thru on demand services on cable, satellite and the internet. Why do you have a problem with this?
      If your employer fires you because you have a particular bumper sticker on your car, or because of tweets you have made on your own account and your own time, this is a violation of your first amendment rights and you should lawyer up. Unless, of course, you are a conservative, in which case your house will be picketed, your children threatened and your car set on fire.
      Yes, site owners CAN ban people for whatever reason, so if you have a problem with my comments, I suggest you follow your own advice and start your own damn site.
      We’ll be well rid of you!

      1. “Case in point, McConnell’s Twitter account being locked after death threats against him were reposted in a tweet.” Site source please (and not Fox News).

        Read up on court cases re: bumper stickers and employee termination. The courts are not on the side of the employee.

        Definition of porn – I know it when I see it. One could consider the pictures of trump’s unclothed wife as porn. Was she being exploited?

        You showed your hand – I’ve yet to find a reliable confirmation that a conservative’s house/children were picketed/threatened. For decades there have been websites that threatened judges, medical providers, and their staffs. Again, I’ve seen very little “outrage” about this. John McCain is the only conservative I’ve seen who spoke up. And we’ve all seen how he has been treated (pre/post mortem).

        One will never know if I have a website or not. Just as one will never know if I vote for/financially support a “demonrat”.

        And quite interesting that the website host did not comment on your post.

        Corporate America pays me well with decent benefits. Which I use to insulate myself from the impending economic downturn. And for the most part, I have little issue with immigrants. Most I’ve met are far more hardworking than most of my relatives and some citizens.

        1. Re: Mitch Mc Connell getting locked out of his Twitter acct.
          Really? How did you miss this story?
          Sources: 8/7/19: CBS news, CNBC, (the ‘failing’) New York Times
          8/9/19: VOX
          Other accounts of Trump staffers/ supporters being harassed:
          6/25/18- (P)MSNBC interview with Maxine Waters.
          6/6/19 VOX “Anti Trump supporters assaulted some Trump Supporters”.

          8/8/19 New York Post: Liberals right now willing to target any Trump Supporters for ruination.

          I’m sure that you are capable of Googling more “proof” if you’re so inclined.

          Definition of porn – generally, people are bright enough to recognize it when they see it, but if one or more people, are engaged in sexual acts with one or more people, animals, implements, etc. it’s porn.

          John Mc Cain kept the feud going pretty well. He’s dead now so I guess Trump gets the last word in. Don’t really care.

          Daisy is busy; she can’t comment on EVERY post. Sorry if this makes you feel neglected.
          Corporate America: well, that explains your elitist, arrogant, pushy behavior. Hope you have a good parachute for when the economy collapses.
          Immigrants: Curious. Just how many uneducated, dirt poor illegals do you know – other than the poor exploited souls that work in your favorite restaurant?

      2. How interesting that Daisy Luther is not reprimanding you and suggesting that you “comment with less aggression.” Also, who are you to speak to Selena that way and tell her to get her own site? Unlike, say, Zuckerberg with Facebook, you do not own this site. You do not speak for the rest of us readers when you insult a woman just for sharing her experience. Not a thing that she said was untrue. You claim that “conservative” accounts are being unfairly shut down. Well, I hate to break it to you but life’s not fair. To anyone. For example, a good friend of mine is a well-established artist, but when he posted a piece that showed a woman’s nipple, Facebook cancelled his account, which he used for his business. It was not pornography, it was art, but he suffered due to an arbitrary, conservative rule set by someone at the site. Is he going around all butthurt about it like Trump or McConnell? He wasn’t pleased, but he recognized that he was on someone else’s site, took the image down, and had his account restored, like a reasonable adult. He sold the nude elsewhere. Anyways, I think I’ve made my point. Stick around Selena, the prep info is good and we’re not all like “Miss Kitty” here.

        1. Sara
          As I said to Selena, Daisy has other things to do. She assumed that adults will behave as adults and not browbeat others for political reasons.
          Since Selena took it upon herself to spout off on the topic in an aggressive and VERY political way, I took it upon MYSELF to take her to the metaphorical woodshed. Mainly because I am sick of her every post being an attack on people who don’t march in lockstep with her particular ideology.
          If Selena has something constructive, educational or at least non-confrontational she’s been told she’s welcome to stick around by Daisy. If any of us is deemed irredeemably obnoxious by Daisy, she’s more than capable of telling me, you and everyone else to go to h-e- double hockey sticks.
          You claim that Selena’s comments were all true.u So were mine, and I provided the proof that she didn’t feel like looking up for herself or showing to prove her statements.
          Sorry for your friend’s Facebook censoring… that’s just wrong, and considering the content of many fb accounts, ironic.
          It’s too bad that you feel about me the way you do….I have no quarrel with you or anyone else who chooses to express their opinions in a way that is respectful of others’. However, if anyone chooses to launch a vicious attack on others purely based on ideology, I’m in.

  4. We do not want the government, as occurs in socialist/communist countries, choosing for us. Content needs to be filtered for child safety. Content could be further filtered re: sexual explicitness, violence and other divisive topics by offering the adult user their choice of filtering or not.

  5. The government is already interfering in the market by immunizing internet companies for the content posted by third parties. But the moment the companies restrict or push certain content based on political bias, they have ceased being impartial hosts to become publishers. All other publishers can be sued for defamation, libel, failure to fulfill contractual agreements, and so forth. Google, Facebook, Twitter, et al. all have become publishers, therefore should forfeit their immunity from law suits. These companies have published guidelines (contracts) and they all have broken their own contracts. Therefore they should lose their immunity.

    Does it need a presidential EO to change those companies’ status from hosting companies to publishers? What would it take within the present law to change their status from hosting to publisher?

    I think that removing the present government interference in the market would encourage greater transparency, honesty and competition in the market.

    I don’t want more governmental interference in the market.

  6. Facebook, Google and other corporations that have received government (tax) funding should be required to return (payback) that funding so as to retain their status as “private” corporations and thereby be protected by the First Amendment.

  7. First off, ANYTHING the government says means something else, entirely. They just dress it up so a nation with a collective, room-temp IQ NEVER stops believing their endless lies.

    2nd, being banned from ActivistPost, AJ, ‘Natural’ News (and his other BS sites) and a few others generally means you’re getting too close to the truth, exposing [them], or your comments can pose a danger to the terminally stupid. They might awaken or start asking …..questions!

    Witness MSM; how many allow comments, anymore? Too many awakened were making the sheep ask uncomfortable questions.

  8. The Founders of this country put together a government that was designed for the common grace of self-regulation. This tolerant courtesy of others has been eroding for the past three decades — dangerously so in the past decade. Unfortunately, the logic follows that the more lawless and corrupted a people become, the more a government is forced to control. I don’t like that but it is historically true.

    The less regulated a people are, the more free they are to enjoy their liberty. But, if peeps fail to find grace in their souls for their fellow man and forget to control themselves, then more regulation ensues.

    Makes my blood boil that honest, disciplined and responsible people have to pay for the corruption of others. But that corruption is making some people very wealthy and powerful, so I doubt it will stop anytime soon. How I wish it weren’t so gloomy out there but can’t help seeing that our country is in great peril.

  9. The scumbags are trying to lend legitimacy to the irrelevant. No one ‘has’ to use social media. If you don’t like it, go somewhere or use something else.

  10. This article summarizes in a nutshell why nobody on the right is a libertarian anymore. You guys honestly are simply unwilling to fight back against the left. I would suggest cowardice, not principle, is at work here. Your answer is literally to hide in the woods in your survival bunker.
    What’s your libertarian response when the web host shuts you down? When the payment processors kicks you off? When your banned from Search Results? When you videos get taken down. No response. It’s honestly sad because in many ways libertarians might be the best allies in the reaction. But nope. You’ll just sit alone with your principles while the left exterminates you and the culture you love. You guys are a living meme – not in a good way.

  11. History has shown that when Big Business and Government get together, it’s not good for smaller business and the average Joe…. not to mention the Constitution.

    The biggest problem with the way things are now is that the big Social Media companies are not just being treated as private companies… they’ve been granted UNIQUE permission, by being called “Platforms” to NOT be sued by those using them. Normally their activities would define them as a “Publisher” rather than a “Platform” because they want to control what is posted, which is absolutely their right. Publishers (such as Glenn Beck) CAN be sued for what they publish… and it takes a great deal of work and money to make sure the content on his website is accurate, because he is responsible for what he publishes.

    But Social Media giants want it (and have gotten it) both ways… they get the ability to control what is shown on their sites (a benefit of being a Publisher) AND they get to not be sued (a benefit of being a Platform).

    This is not an issue that should be handled by the Executive Branch, but by the Legislative branch… they need to define them to be what they really want to be… a Publisher. And the Social Media companies have every right to control what they publish on their sites. But as Publishers, then, they should be held accountable (not by Govt, but by USERS thru the judicial system) for what they publish.

    I’m surprised by Dagny’s comment above that she says faced with the option of being sued or allowing the most awful things to be posted, “what would you do?” and that it would lead to less freedom of speech. If you think about it, that’s exactly what WAS posted on social media platforms when they first started… and freedom of speech FLOURISHED.

    My suggestion would be to leave Govt AND the social media companies out of “protecting us”. We should be able to protect ourselves. That’s how it was supposed to be… WE choose what is presented on our feed. But the problem is, they’re not honoring that. Glenn Beck has very clear evidence that they’re not sending his FB posts to the people that SUBSCRIBED to get them, not to mention anyone who hasn’t blocked him.

    I think, if Big Tech was serious about US having the power to control what we receive, they would provide TRANSPARENT and ACCOUNTABLE options for us to choose.

    Seems to me, there should be clear options available… like parental control to protect kids, or porn control (that’s an easy one to identify, right?) Can we not define “violence” in a way that satisfies the average person, rather than one side or the other? Can they not provide for nuances that allow us to define for OURSELVES what porn or violence mean? Can they not modify the “algorithms” currently out there to filter what we receive to be under OUR control, rather than theirs? Can they not have clear “rules” for those who want to post on their platforms to follow so they’re not banned? Can they not be held accountable if they do not DO what they SAY they’re going to do?

    If the Executive Branch wants to do anything, they should hold Big Tech accountable by forcing them to be TRANSPARENT in how their algorithms currently work, and provide clear metrics for measuring what the algorithms do. I’m all for transparency.

  12. ….’liberal cesspools of venom’. I like it, I really do!
    Pat (in rural northern Maine where we use those newfangled septic tanks rather than old-fashioned cesspools of venom!)

  13. Until and unless Google, Facebook, and the like become nationalized, they have the right to run their businesses the way they like and I have the right to patronize them or not. At least they do in the USA.

    I hope that we don’t become like China, Russia, Iran, NK, etc and allow the government to control their content.

  14. Oh my gosh – this needs to stop. They’re gonna ‘EO’ all of us right into a full blown censorship. Good article as always!

  15. If these big tech companies are a “platform” as they claim, then they should not censor anything or anyone. Free speech is exactly what it says – free to “speak” anything, yes, even yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. It is not illegal, however, there is a consequence for doing so.

    FB et al may be private companies, but their platforms are “free spaces” to use by the public. They aren’t clubs where we pay to use their platforms; therefore, no censorship should be applied by the company but only by the users. We all have the ability to censor what shows up on our “timeline” and we do. So leave us alone FB and let us see and read whatever we choose!

  16. I absolutely agree with the author here. If major communicators from any political viewpoint choose to use social media as platforms, they should understand they’re not protected by the first amendment. Perhaps a
    website hosting company should create the same ease of use at a reasonable price to host people’s own private websites as an alternative.

  17. Friends and family have forwarded or reposted cute or harsh things they felt expressed their feelings on different subjects. Many go through untouched. But political ones are frequently pulled. I’d prefer they be left alone but the site has its agenda and behaves aaccordingly. I still use facebook. And no, beyond porn, threats, or incitement to riot I don’t want or approve of censorship. I don’t agree with taking things down for differences about politics. We hate that in communist nations and are surprised when our freedom is acted against by a site. We expect freedom of expression but we increasingly don’t have it. Its is a liberal site. We should recognise they operate by a very different standard of what is or isn’t acceptable.
    I still don’t want government getting too involved in regulating because it tends to grow and seldom in good ways. I don’t want government one day trying to control what I think or how I express it.

  18. I’m a libertarian (believe in the NAP) and am principally opposed in any government intervention. But the Big Tech monopolies are not the result of the free market, on the very contrary. They’re deep state fronts and to let them censor freely is not libertarian at all. A good solution would be to impose the 1st Amendment on any company with a market share above a certain level, eg 80%. Any proposal that would also target the small platforms would worsen the situation and actually empower Big Tech.

  19. Why does everyone have to complicate things so much?! YES, THERE IS CENSORSHIP FOR SURE. NOT GOOD. Freedom of speech must be protected at all cost.

    1. I suggest that users be responsible for their own content, and suffer the consequences as if they are in public. Content that is accessible online is in a public forum and users should be held to the same laws as if in public spaces.
    2. There should be two types of users, identified and anonymous, into a repository of users for the internet. Anonymous users should have to earn credibility points before they can post. They can be removed for excessive repeated complaints for illegal or violent content by other users. Publicly posted algorithms should be in place to thwart the worst, most obvious ill content. Users can create multiple anonymous accounts if they wish. Voat.co has a system that’s worth looking into.
    3. There should be government grants available to help start competitive businesses to current online platforms that are monopolizing public space with agenda-driven censoring. Grants should be given based on public voting of online grant applications. Companies with excessive complaints of censorship should be evaluated (maybe voted on) and potentially fined (fines should not be so severe as to impact ability to keep business open). That money could go into these government grants. People can also donate to these grants to help competitive startups.

  20. When we don’t like a television show, we can change the channel, or, heaven forbid, turn the tv off. Movies that offend our sensibilities, don’t go,or, if you are already there–walk out. Facebook posts bother you? Unfriend the person who sent them your way, or do as most people do, add your own trollish comments. Sometimes you might even do some research and ascertain the truth of the matter. But, Do Not Let Big Brother Rule You. I don’t trust any of them to have that much control over my information. There is more than enough with big money in all forms of media. This would be a very quick trip to a totalitarian state—and yes, to could happen here.

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