While many on the libertarian right and within the conservative movement have their issues with Alex Jones and InfoWars, this week’s announcement by YouTube, Facebook, Apple, and Spotify represents a concerted effort of proscription and censorship that could just as soon see any of us confined to the dustbin of social media history.
These platforms that claim to be “open” and in favor of “free speech” are now routinely targeting — whether by human intervention or not — the views and expressions of conservatives and anti-globalists.
This is why they no longer even fit the bill of “platforms.” They are publishers in the same way we regard news outlets as publishers. They may use more machine learning and automation, but their systems clearly take editorial positions. We need to hold them to account in the same way we do any other publisher.
Just as you cannot libel someone on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, if the Silicon Valley cartel wants to act like a publisher, they should have to assume the same burden.
If someone — anyone — publicly defames me on Twitter, why isn’t Twitter accountable for publishing damaging untruths?
If the glorification of terrorism, or calls to violence are spread on Facebook or YouTube — perhaps we need to ensure they, as any book publisher would be for instance, are liable for such content?
After all, in banning people like Jones, or even more farcically, Candace Owens, aren’t these new media publishers trying to tell us that they can, do, and will take firm action against this sort of thing? …
Are we going to stand idly by as friends, allies, or even political enemies have their speech curtailed or their lives threatened by these modern publishers?
Or are we going to demand that they can only have it one way or another? That they cannot profess to be neutral, open platforms while being illiberal, dictatorial, and hiding behind the visage of a private corporation (which are more often than not in bed with governments around the world at the very highest levels).