With the trend of giant social media platforms banning Alex Jones, the issue of freedom of speech on the internet specifically on social media platforms has became a growing issue. So first of all, the private sector which includes these platforms have the right to run their business and website however they want. However, these are giant platforms of which many people literally make their living off of. Therefor they should be held to a higher standard as their decisions affect a lot more people. If a platform like facebook, twitter, or youtube decides to ban someone because of the things they say, that is a violation of their rights. They are literally infringing upon people’s liberty to tweet, make a video, or post something on facebook. Due to the size of these platforms, they are more than just some guy’s privately owned business/website. They have become something of a public thing that should operate within some rules public things would operate in. If some private company created a hive mind that allowed humans to transfer their consciousness into a computer and hear whatever thoughts other people are thinking would we allow that private company to dictate what people can and can’t think of? If something becomes so big that it’s now essentially apart of a person’s means to speak or communicate, then shouldn’t it be regulated by a force that isn’t based on the whims of a single person or a select few with little to no principles or regulations?
With alex jones banned on various platforms we have jumped down a rabbit hole. It is an inevitability that if we allow giant private companies like Facebook or Twitter to ban their users on a whim then eventually suppression of things you may agree with will occur. Say you’re a far leftist, what if Twitter/FB decides they don’t want anyone on their platforms even mentioning or alluding to abortion. Abortion and any information or conversations about abortion and pro-choice specifically are suppressed and eliminated. You can no longer talk about or be pro-abortion on FB, is that fine? When something like social media becomes as big as it has, the market can’t fix things it’s self. People can’t just go to the next FB/myspace which doesn’t suppress it’s user’s freedom of speech. Not enough people will switch, it is simply too big and the alternatives aren’t competitive enough. With this being considered, the government should step in and say hey if you’re a giant platform people make a living off of and interact with their friends/family/strangers literally majority of their lives on, then you can’t ban people because their rights their constitutional rights are applied and you must abide by them. To what degree should this be regulated? Well in my opinion to the fullest degree. In America we have limited freedom, limited freedom of speech. However the internet I believe we shouldn’t even have that gray area for. It should be black and white, you should have absolute freedom to use racial slander, promote and spread malicious ignorance / blatantly false information, and whatever other crap people could argue shouldn’t be allowed. The problem isn’t the speech it’s self, the problem isn’t alex jones or whoever else saying parents were paid to fake mourn the deaths of their children in a shooting. The underlining problem is education and the general population’s ability to decipher what is true, credible, and rational. Instead of even focusing on how the government would go about regulating to what extent giant platforms like FB/twitter need to allow freedom of speech under their private set of rules, we should be more focused on being realistic and the principles we want to uphold. People should have absolute freedom, and this is one area where we can make that a reality and if we don’t it will have serious ramifications for generations. Private citizens can block ignore whatever content they wish, but more importantly they can determine for themselves how real something is. IF they cannot, it is up to their peers to educate and convince them, or even more importantly it’s up to their educational background to prepare and train them for this sort of social interaction/learning/researching. People can take care of themselves, but the government should step in when bigger people and telling smaller people what they can and cannot say/do. Especially when those bigger people control pretty much every aspect of the smaller people’s lives. If a giant platform like FB/youtube needs to address / suppress someone’s speech or ideas then they should have to go through the government not just their CEOs or share holders. As technology and these platforms grow larger, people’s lives will become more ingrained into them. We need to recognize giant companies or platforms have to be held to a higher standard or else people will ultimately be oppressed not by their government but by their own private sector.