The question is: Are they a “public utility” or a “media publisher”? Their “product” is distributed over the airwaves, which is currently regulated, and wires on utility poles, which is also currently regulated. On the other hand, newspapers, magazines and books are distributed on public roads and are not regulated as to content.
Content regulation is a slippery slope. Social media is ultimately controlled by the stockholders, user participation and competition. At the present time they have a winning combination AND an obvious political bias. So be it. Let them “censor”. Keep the government out of it. If you don’t like their political bias then cancel your accounts, find another venue for your ideas. KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF IT.
On a separate but related question: The suppression of free speech on college campuses, they all rely on substantial public funding, federal and state. Elect people who will use that power to enforce free speech and ACTIVELY suppress violence and intimidation of any political opinion. Cut off the money from those that don’t. Do not give government backed student loans to institutions which do not comply.
I agree with you on both counts, OD. I don’t have any use for Alex Jones, but this isn’t the right way to deal with him. I worry about conservatives who do want to regulate privately owned speech channels. I think Alex Jones has enough resources to build his own platform, and he ought to. I think these platforms are hypocritical because some or all of them purport to support free speech.
Well, the YouTube’s (Google’s) Terms of Service spell this out pretty clearly…
“You will not post anything libelous, defamatory, harmful, threatening, harassing, abusive, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, racially or ethnically objectionable, or otherwise illegal.
You will not make threats to other users or people not associated with the site.
If you violate these rules, your comment(s) and/or user name will be deleted.”
…because they don’t explain up front that THEY are the arbiters of what is “hateful, racial or ethnically OBJECTIONABLE.” “Objectionable” to WHOM, one might ask. Obviously, they mean “objectionable” to GOOGLE…certainly NOT to the thousands who want to hear what Jones has to say. No speech is “illegal” that doesn’t constitute a direct, specific threat to do another bodily harm.
Oops…I didn’t mean “YouTube’s” (Google) terms of service, I meant, InfoWars terms of service…
And InfoWars goes on to explain in the ToS…
“If you violate the rules, your posts and/or username will be deleted. Remember: you are a guest here. It is not censorship if you violate the rules and your post is deleted. All civilizations have rules and if you violate them you can expect to be ostracized from the tribe.”
Funny the outrage from you two when you feel the victim, but both of you would have defended InfoWars if they had chosen to do the same thing.
Be it ban someone they disagree with or allowed speech the “other side” finds offensive.
Pure unadulterated hypocrisy my friends. Incredible.
I think the answer you seek comes from Infowars itself.
Remember: you are a guest here. It is not censorship if you violate the rules and your post is deleted. All civilizations have rules and if you violate them you can expect to be ostracized from the tribe.”
And who get’s to decide?
I’ll give you a hint, it’s not an independent body.
Look, FWIW I see all be the most egregious speech as fair game. People should educate themselves, not isolate themselves from speech they find offensive, but just as AJ is free to say (most) of what he wants, Google, Apple, and other platforms are free to remove (most) of who they decide to remove on the grounds that AJ (in this case) violated the terms of service already spelled out as long as the ToS are created to isolate people on ethnic, religious, gender, racial or sexual orientation.
If you believe they are being hypocritical then you and others should educate those around you and vote with your wallets.
The reason I support the ban, where I normally would not, is that AJ attacked and slandered (libel? defamation?) the people of the children who were murdered in SH. I think that probably causes them pain and anguish they don’t deserve not should they have expected and I don’t think AJ should have a platform to harm people who should have no expectation of that sort of abuse (i.e. aren’t celebrities, politicians or other people who chose to be in the public eye).
Of course, Jones’ lawyers in court say what he does is all just act. I think the term is “opinion masquerading as fact”.
I recall being slandered on a fairly wide scale once and my lawyer told me, it’s not enough that people say bad things about you. You have to prove that the things that were said about you changed the opinions of others about you.
Now in AJ’s case, at least one (if not more) of the parents from Sandy Hook who’s child was murdered have had to move 7 times and have received death threats, so it’s obvious that at least some of Jones’ fans take him seriously.
I don’t care if they ban Jones or not. As I’ve said earlier, it is their right to do so. However if they choose to ban him by applying a phoney “community standard” and simultaneously not ban Maxine and the Antifa folks then they are lying hypocrites. Anybody smarter than a box of rocks who think Maxine, Antifa etc. do not post “defamatory, harmful, threatening, harassing, abusive, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, racially or ethnically objectionable” material is obviously an ideological running dog of the radical progressive left.
So, that’s the point of this thread. I’m really curious whether anyone wants to usurp google’s, facebook’s or apple’s private property rights. Some do. People here seem to oppose it, which makes me happy.
However, the president has suggested regulating them. This should disturb his fans. Also, a number of other right-leaning folks support regulation as public utilities.
At the same time, it doesn’t immunize in any way google, facebook or Apple from well-deserved criticism, especially since they pretend to support free speech. They try to be free while stopping bad speech. They’re the arbiters, but yes, what if it were Infowars making that choice. Truth is they’re all pretending to be about free speech and free discussion when they’re not really. This whole story just underscores how dangerous diluting the First Amendment could be. Since I am politically and philosophically opposed to the Silicon Left and Infowars, a world where one of these two viewpoints holds the power to decide what is “hate” or not is highly disturbing.
I mean, do you think free speech includes the right to say…Heckle a funeral and mock people as they grieve the death of child?
Because that’s basically what AJ is doing. He’s spewing crap and it’s causing real pain and anguish to people who have have suffered enough after the death of a child. Seems they should be given the respect to move on. At the very least his listeners should call and write and let him know he’s gone too far with this, but they don’t and of course that’s why we’re having this conversation.
Is this really what “free speech” is intended to protect?
I mean, I get some of your points, I just think this is going too far. It’s just mean and hateful and unnecessary or is this what people on the “right” stand for now?