Free speech isn’t meant for only a select few.
Social media giants have started a war on speech. In the last few weeks we have seen a multitude of high profile political commentators, and their followers, deplatformed. The initial sweep occurred when Facebook banned several high profile conservatives claiming that they were “far-right” and “dangerous”. Soon, people that were questioning the ban or even mentioning the names of those banned were finding themselves censored as well.
Most recently, there have been numerous complaints on Twitter of high profile conservatives losing massive amounts of followers. And it does not seem to be legitimate dropping, as hundreds of users are complaining that they are having to follow these personalities again as they discover that they are no longer following people they were before.
There has been much discussion about regulating these social media companies. The companies have continued to claim that they are platforms and not publishers in order to protect themselves from liability, however the actions which they are taking are not those of a platform. These are the actions of curating content, and surely identifies them as publishers.
Now, the next step in the censorship war appears to be forming, as the White House gets involved. The White House official Twitter account has tweeted out that the “Trump Administration is fighting for free speech online”. The tweet introduces a new official website where people can report their story of being “censored or silenced online”.
While I don’t expect it, I hope to see some bipartisan support for protecting free speech online. After all, if a mere $100,000 in Russian Facebook ads qualify as election meddling, what should we call Facebook and Twitter promoting for free one party, and silencing the other?
If you believe that you have been silenced or censored online, click here to report your story on the official White House page. And if you are tired of Facebook and Twitter’s political games, most of those deplatformed personalities and followers have found their way to Telegram.