Giant social media platforms should not have the right to ban people they don't like.

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.

This is a business decision, for the most part. These platforms would rather ban extremists than lose many regular users who don’t want to be bombarded with extremist crap on these platforms.

Banning Alex Jones and his ilk might lost FB some users, but keeping him probably loses them many more. Same goes for white supremacists and other extremists.

IANAL, but I don’t think there’s any constitutional way to prevent FB or other platforms from setting and enforcing rules on what content they allow.

People watched Alex Jones because they found it funny/entertaining, a smaller portion of them actually found it a credible source of information. Due to the sheer size of these platforms, losing so many people it’d actually affect them due to a single guy or group of people isn’t going to happen. There are far more people who have no idea who alex jones is using your platform than there are who know who he is and are actively upset by what he says. Like i said, the users are responsible for themselves. If someone is hearing alex jones and believes it then it’s their peers responsibility to educate and convince them. This is a problem that shouldn’t be solved by the big corporate heads. It should be solved at the base level, education.

And maybe not but certain constitutional rights should apply to various degrees. Such as a person’s freedom to say whatever batshit crazy shit they can think of despite how many people they trigger. If there was competition so that a single person was actually able to run off enough people to significantly hurt Twitter/FB, then there would be no reason to even establish a higher ruler on this issue. The core issues are 1) The platforms are too large, and 2) people are uneducated/misinformed. If FB/Twitter could actually lose significant business due to a bunch of nazi profiles that nobody will see, then they wouldn’t be big enough or have enough control over society to even warrant the government stepping in to begin with. What I’m saying here is they are too big, and they have too much control, and the ramifications for allowing them to do as they please outweighs the potential issues we will have with the government stepping into their affairs.

So, just so I am getting this straight, are you suggesting the government dictates what a private business publishes or doesn’t publish?

Yes, if a private business is a means of communicating / information that is so large that other businesses and markets rely heavily and sometimes entirely on it, then yes the government should stop them from infringing on people’s rights to do things.

Big difference from the government telling or convincing a media company to run pro-government stories. If the airforce didn’t control GPS and instead it was a private company, do you think we should let that private company dictate all the markets that rely on it? Should a private company have the power to literally destroy billion dollar markets because the whims of a few people? These social media platforms are almost on par with the significance GPS has for many businesses. Millions of people rely on it, and theres billions on the line if something happens.

Edit: I know I wouldn’t make much of a lawyer, but hopefully my point is clear and construct.

Americans have a right to free speech, not a right to speech free of consequences.

That doesn’t warrant or justify this case. Threatening or defaming someone is different than propagating malicious false narratives. I can say Bill Clinton raped a women all I want so long as I’m not harming his income or personally harassing him. At least to my knowledge. In which case someone is believed to be warranting a ban from a platform like twitter, the company should have to go through a higher court to justify and execute this action.

Edit: If I tell people we need to go to point A and do whatever, let’s say blow up a hospital. Then I should be reported, I should be held accountable to some degree. However it shouldn’t be a private company deciding whether or not what I said should get me banned. I believe it should instead go to a court where they will decide the significance of such a thing (in the case the company decided it’s significant) and whether or not to hold me accountable for what I said. And again, the bigger something is the higher of a standard it should be held to. If the sitting US President tweets people should start murdering journalists, then he should probably be held more accountable than some troll with 1 follower saying the exact same thing. It’s a matter of priority, resource management, and scale.

And if that court rules that all anti-Republican posts should be removed from those social media sites, you’d be cool with that?

Then that’s a problem with the electorate, and democracy has failed.

Personally, I would think Democracy has failed if a government official was telling private companies what they can/can’t have on their sites.

Like they do my property? Yeah, probably has. I’m advocating for education and reason, because democracy doesn’t seem to work too well when you have ignorance and greed as a driving force behind expansion. Just my personal opinion though.

Which rights? Certainly not guaranteed by the First Amendment, which only restrains government from limiting freedom of speech. You have no right to express yourself on a platform just because it is big. Success does not change the right of a publisher to control the content of their platform. I wish I could force Fox News to carry more left wing viewpoints, but I have no such right. And neither do crackpots like Alex Jones.

The government is telling you what free speech rights you have on your property? In which way are they doing this? Are they making you place pro-Trump signs in your yard, or what?

I do have the right, I have the basic universal right to do whatever I’m capable of to begin with. And I most certainly have the right to prevent a group of people from monopolizing a resource or utility that I require for my livelihood (thanks to democracy and sometimes guns)

Imagine a world where we all just shit piss eat and sleep in our homes, meanwhile we log onto a virtual reality platform where majority of people spend their time. Should the private company in charge of such a thing be the ones to dictate it? Or should the government step in and say you have to give us freedom? Let’s assume in a more extreme circumstance a private company has control over most people’s entire reality. Should they have the right to torture and do whatever fucked up shit they can think of? Or does the government step in and say we have a right to this virtual world to live how we see fit?

If a human becomes god, should that human have absolute power or should they distribute their power? Do you believe in the greater will of the people, or the handful of individuals? Does the well being of everyone matter more or less than the well being of a handful? Should the people in power grow stronger or should the people beneath them? To what degree exactly does a private company have to become large enough for it to warrant government intervention? I’d say once it starts affecting the everyday lives of average people.

I agree that there’s need to be a bigger focus on teaching children critical thinking skills.

However, the main thing I’ve learnt from the rise of social media is that people are stupid, and content to be stupid (cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias appear to be the norm, rather than the exception I had always assumed them to be). So, no people cannot determine what’s real and what isn’t. Additionally, their peers cannot simply educate the misinformed as to what’s real and what isn’t (studies have shown that quite often presenting facts to somebody in opposition to what they already believe reinforces the flawed belief system). It is funny, I used to think the downfall of humanity would be caused by nuclear weapons, or superbugs; however, now I know the truth. Our downfall is going to be caused by weaponized misinformation. So, I really don’t have a problem with keeping Alex Jones types off of big information platforms for the greater good.

The government tells me what I can and can’t have onsite. Apparently I can’t build a meth lab in my front yard.

Wait, what’s being monopolized here? The internet?

What does a meth lab have to do with free speech?

All Alex Jones has to do is create his own website and anyone with a browser can easily access it–if he doesn’t want to use the massive number of alternatives to Facebook/Twitter…

I think you’re wrong. People are only as stupid as their environment allows them to be. So there is was a man named Terry Davis, he wrote his own programming language (modified C / Holy C) which he programmed his own operating system with. The guy learned to write asm on vas systems for ticketmaster in the 1970s or something, has a psychotic episode, has schizophrenia, and a number of other illnesses. He believes god told him to write a 640x480 16bit color display operating system with it’s own compiler, kernel, 2D/3D graphic library, and numerous other things. He also had delusions of aliens, and thought the CIA was fucking with him. Despite this, he was intelligent enough to build an incredible piece of software. What was the issue here? Well for one society was not robust enough to handle this kind of person. But more importantly his early education was lackluster. He had a religious upbringing, and as a result of his episode he fell back into beliefs of the supernatural. Now I’m not trying to insult religion but rather make a point here, this guy like many people on the internet was incapable of being reasoned with on things we generally understand as being fabricated or false. Yet, he had such great capabilities due to his intellect, and even despite this odd mental issue he was somewhat rational, understood he’d go to jail if he runs over people he believes to be CIA, and stuff like that. He could have been reasoned with, or more importantly he could have been educated and raised in such a way that his sort of disbelief and irrational behaviors / ideas could have been far more constructive. All these flat earth alien lizard people are actual people and they aren’t always complete retards. They can be reasoned with, but more importantly the things they’re hell bent on believing or emotionally investing themselves in can be prevented and channeled in a much more constructive way, had they received a proper education early on and for society to be robust enough to allow what intelligence they do have to flourish.

This is preventable, and it is fixable. Life is always evolving and humans are no different. In every retard there is genius, it’s just a matter of extracting it and how you go about handling their stupid side.