Nigel Farage has come out against the antics of these big social media companies. He made an interesting point about how they operate. At first these sites were open platforms that allowed anybody to articulate their political views. Now, they’re acting as publishers because they choose what can and can’t be posted on their sites. This means that they can be sued for slander and libel because they’re doing business as a media operation and are no longer operating as an open platform.
Here’s an excerpt from Farage’s op-ed on the subject.
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?
He brings up an excellent point. These companies should be treated as publishers since they are selecting what is and isn’t allowed on their sites. This opens them up to all sorts of lawsuits as anybody could sue them if somebody says something false about another person on their site. That’s because they’re controlling the type of content that’s available. So any content that gets posted on the site, they are effectively endorsing.
Ron Paul and other libertarians have also echoed similar concerns. Some of them have even been banned for posting wrong think.
Reiterating what I’ve said before, these companies need to be treated like public utilities. This argument about them being private corporations to justify their policy of political censorship is bullshit. That would apply in the case of that bakery who refused to bake a cake for some faggots. It isn’t like the faggots couldn’t just go to another bakery to bake a cake.
In this case, there is only one online public square which is dominated by a monopolistic trust of private corporations. I can’t simply take my business elsewhere, nor can I as a private individual create my own public square from scratch.
Government intervention is absolutely required to ensure that the modern day public square is not restricting people’s First Amendment right to free speech. Anybody who disagrees with this is a fucking idiot and can lick my sweaty nut sack.