In response to the social networks taking it upon themselves to stifle free speech, to censor what they don’t agree with Trump came out yesterday and signed Section 230 executive order that put the social network on notice that no longer was the US going to allow censorship of conservative or opposing viewpoints.
The social networks, up to this time, were protected from lawsuits and liability under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, this protected all social network sites against liability for the things posted by third party posters, but this included that there would be no censorship of political views from these same sites. This is something they have not honored; it was about time this was called to question.
This was brought to attention by the twitter decision, after falling under pressure from their employees, to start to fact check Trump’s Tweets.
Conservative sites like National Review tried to say this was Obama-style executive abuse, but that is nonsense, it was calling a bad practice into question and exposing the outright leftist bias used to censor conservative speech by these social network platforms. I do want to point out, although they do publish on our site, and I like much of what they put out, their constant anti-Trump rhetoric by their leadership I can’t stand, in many ways, they are as caught up with the TDS as the left is.
The complaint by the social networks is that Section 230 has restrained litigation, thus created a situation where the social network giants were more open to taking risks, but this is not the case. What they fail to understand is in the same bill they were able to censor out what is seen as indecent or harmful material, such as calls to actions against different races, supporting violence, hatred, or pornography, but mentioned explicitly in the bill was there was to be no action taken against, or censorship of political views, this they have not only repeatedly violated, but did so openly.
What Trump is pushing for is for equal access to these sites by all political parties, where their voice is freely heard without supposed fact-checkers are trying to censor out what they don’t agree with.
“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices,” Trump tweeted the other day. “We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that happen again.”
One can ask, what did Trump mean by mentioning 2016? This was when he bypassed the press, used social network programs to reach out to people with his message without censorship from the media. Social media gave Trump the ability to contest the Russian-collusion story, but now it wants to have the right to do what the press was trying to do, censor out his and other conservative speech.
The claim from David Harsanyi yesterday that Twitter was overstepping its bounds in censoring tweets and trying to fact check them was correct. For some odd reason, he turned around today, started to attack Trump’s move to stop this censorship, said that he found such a move was dictatorial, he is very wrong in this. I could not, in all good conscious publish his article claiming this and back it up from our site.
Reportedly, Trump’s executive order will empower the White House Office of Digital Strategy to collect complaints of “online censorship” and submit them to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.
David Harsanyi goes on to ask:
What right does the executive branch of the United States government have to collect speech complaints? What does “censorship” even mean when it relates to a private company? Is a fact-check by Twitter an act of “censorship?” Is shutting down a Nazi troll account or a Chinese propaganda account an act of censorship? The administration risks creating new methods to chill speech without benefiting open debate.
We have said since we started, with this site and with our online social network site, 0censor Community, speech should not be censored if there is a difference of political thought, even if you see it as a Nazi troll site, what you do is open this speech up to be refuted, allow the people to see the statement, then see how it is refuted, this takes power from these trolls, does not give them more power.
Propaganda is a different matter, if you can identify it is coming from an outside source, such as the Chinese or Russian government, then I would have no problem with labeling it as such, but even then I think we have to give all the right to explain themselves, even government. Still, in this, I would give the right for our government to add a disclaimer.
To some extent, Jack Dorsey is bringing these difficulties on himself by dispensing with neutrality. Twitter is now fact-checking debatable propositions by the president. The Twitter chief executive says that he’ll continue “to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally,” but what will the standard be? Chinese government accounts run rampant on Twitter, spreading all kinds of dangerous misinformation. Joe Biden regularly tweets incorrect or disputed information about his electoral adversary. Allowing those questionable tweets to exist without a fact-check must mean Dorsey endorses their veracity.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting Dorsey ban Communist propaganda from his platform since there are thousands of accounts debunking those lies. I will always prefer open debate to the policing of speech. But if you’re going start engaging in targeted “fact-checks,” the people targeted are inclined to push back.
Conservatives have a right to be upset with the big tech companies, their slant to the left; they openly have stated their hostility to Trump and conservative ideology. The workers within these companies even more so, as we saw with the outrage by Twitter employees over Trump’s tweets, and their forced change with the company.
The other issue is whom social networks are using as their fact-checkers, here is an example of Twitter’s head of their fact-checking department, does anyone think he is impartial when he is tweeting this out?
I do have problems with sites like Facebook banning anything that refutes the liberal sanctioned claims of Coronavirus, how YouTube shuts down openly conservative accounts, how they have demonetized people that had a vast audience, like Louder with Crowder, because they did not agree with their political platform.
If social networks are going to censor free speech, then they should have their protection from liabilities stripped away from them, if they want to stop this, then give the right for all political views to be shared, provide the people that oppose the right to refute, this is how this was supposed to be done.
Hopefully, this will cause a quick change with the social networks, or they will face a host of lawsuits, end up failing due to them, other sites will come in and fill in the vacancies left behind that will honor