Does Facebook support free speech or do they want to suppress free speech? Stories like this one certainly make one wonder. Are certain subjects like discussing lessons to learn from the Nazi Party in World War II off limits? If we don’t learn lessons from the past, we will absolutely deal with the ramifications of repeating the same errors. The solution may be to control some level of hate speech. Or, the idea may be to let social media be a digital Trafalgar square where everyone can speak their minds. But to ONLY disallow those who do not profess radical progressive attitudes – that is pure suppression of free speech.
Facebook has transformed the world. Social Media has become one of the most – if not the most – powerful aspect of modern day living. The minds of hundreds of millions of people are impacted by what they see on social media every day. What gets seen is completely controlled by content editors in Facebook. Until recently, Facebook has withstood many efforts to have strict oversight of how they allow or disallow content. This is reasonable. Government oversight may also not be the best answer. So what is the best answer. Tough question – but the status quo is not good.
Any one group with too much power will almost always begin to abuse it. This story is one of many stories of the abuse of this power. An alternative to Facebook that is not leaning heavily to a radical leftist ideology is absolutely necessary. But in addition, Facebook must be made to understand that they will pay a hefty price if they continue their suppression of right-wing or anti-radical left voices. For starters, there should be a much more transparent process before anybody is kicked off of Facebook. Additionally, once a person is suspended – for any reason – they must be told what that reason is, and what they need to do to come back on. Those who support free speech may mistakenly think that this is governmental overreach. After all, isn’t Facebook a business – Why should the government get involved in decisions? Let the free market reign. The problem with that “free market” angle is that capitalism does need to have guard rails too. It may not need them in 99% of the cases. But the power of social media is the perfect example of when it is necessary to keep the train from sliding down the mountain.