Drive to Regulate Speech On the Internet Is Gaining Steam

Drive to Regulate Speech On the Internet Is Gaining Steam, by John Hinderaker.

Last week the [US] House of Commons’ Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport released an interim report on fake news and disinformation. While couched in the usual do-good language, it illustrates the seriousness of the threat to free speech, most of which takes place, nowadays, on the internet. …

It is common for liberals to assert that the future of our democracy (or, as here, Britain’s) is somehow threatened by the fact that misinformation can be posted to Facebook or Twitter, or elsewhere on the internet. I have yet to see any coherent explanation of why that is the case. Misinformation has been a common feature of our democracy for a long time. …

It is interesting to see how quickly the committee moves from false information to “hyper-partisan,” or “targeted” information. …

The instances of pernicious micro-targeting are of course on the right, but this is done by all sides and has been for a long time, e.g. through direct mail, which is now commonly targeted on a household-by-household basis. Why is such micro-targeting effective? Because it delivers information on the particular issues a given voter cares most about. Why, exactly, does that call for new regulations? …

The freedom that exists on a platform like Facebook is seen as problematic, since Facebook doesn’t prioritize “good journalism” over other material …

This wouldn’t sound so sinister if we believed that governments and various liberal groups and companies are trying to stamp out online reports of Martian landings in Ohio. But of course that isn’t their agenda. …

“Mainstream” media outlets are deemed to be mainstream because of their support for the governing class and its favored policies, which broadly can be described as liberal. The internet–not just Facebook and Twitter, although they have come to play a huge role–is “unregulated.” Worse, it is home to lots of dissenting voices. (I say dissenting, even though such voices–ours, for example–probably represent the views of a majority of Americans on most issues.) This freedom poses a serious threat to the power of the governing class and its media toadies, and they aren’t taking it lying down.

The left wants to own or regulate ALL forms of mass communication. Their PC fantasies cannot take hold otherwise.