I know that I recently wrote an article discussing this very same topic, but Campus Reform recently published a video where their reporter, Addison Smith, asked some college students at the University of Virginia their opinions on social media censoring President Trump, big tech banning Parler, and if big tech has gotten too powerful and should be broken up or regulated.
Smith began by telling students: “There’s been a lot of talk of censorship in the news lately, obviously Trump got his account permanently suspended from Twitter, Parler getting completely de-platformed, dropped by all their vendors, dropped from the web server for [not] enforcing certain censorship laws. Do you support the decision that they made to de-platform Trump and take Parler off the internet?”
The first student who speaks said: “I do support it. I know a lot of people are saying that it violates their… first amendment [rights]… These companies are private companies and they can do whatever they want.”
Keep what this guy said in mind because it will be important.
Another student said that she believes that “as private entities, they do have the ability to choose who’s on their platform, so yeah I think it’s okay.”
A different student who seemed to be a bit more conservative said: “I struggle with it because… Twitter is such a platform where the president can easily talk to everyone and that was [the] way that he did build his entire campaign, but I also understand that Twitter’s a private company and they can do whatever they want, but with Parler being kicked off, I don’t know. I personally hate that they kicked Trump off Twitter just because he’s the president. It just feels like they’re trying to shut down conservatives. And they feel like Donald Trump’s this huge dictator but he’s the one being silenced.”
An interesting take here. On the one hand, she acknowledges that Twitter is a private company and even repeats the talking point of the Left (when it’s convenient and we’ll get to times when that talking point is inconvenient for them) that “they can do whatever they want” similar to that first guy. Again, please keep this “point” in mind.
Another student, who also appeared rather conservative, said: “My concern would be who sets these censorship standards, and are they biased, right? And if they are biased, then that is something that we should be against.”
Short, but brings up a good point: who gets to decide the standards of free speech? Who gets to decide what is allowed and disallowed? We all know that Twitter doesn’t care about the incitement of violence because Leftists had been inciting violence all summer of last year, defending those who would attack police officers and innocent civilians. And like I pointed out in my last article covering this topic, even terroristic threats made by famous (and, therefore, influential, to an extent) people like Madonna were no issue whatsoever since she never received any punishment for her incitement of violence.
The Leftists who run big tech are the ones who decide these censorship standards and, obviously, they are very much biased. The only people who support their actions are fellow Leftists (like some of these indoctrinated college students) who are happy to see dissenting conservative opinions being punished and banned, never once believing that their own opinions, should they be considered “wrong think” by the Twitter overlords, could also be subjected to the same treatment.
One example was of a feminist who had been kicked off of Twitter for her stance against the idea that transgender “women” were actual women. Feminists tend to be Leftists, but even they get censored for their views if they hold “wrong think” ideas.
At any rate, Smith further pushed on the idea that Twitter is a private company, asking the students about it because something conservatives are always told is “go make your own Twitter.” Well, some people did go and made their own Twitter, Parler, but it was shut down by Google and Apple, as well as Amazon who ran Parler’s servers.
What, then, are people supposed to do? Create their own Google, Apple and Amazon? Create their own internet? This is how ridiculous and illogical the arguments are. Any competition these guys face gets eventually bought (Facebook owns Instagram, which used to be fairly competitive) or crushed, so there is no real way to compete. Which is why it’s ludicrous for any conservative to support big tech, seeing as monopolies kill competition and free markets.
The conservative girl (who initially said she struggled with the situation) repeated what she had said earlier, how the Left claims that Trump’s the dictator yet he’s the one that gets silenced.
The first student interviewed, who initially said he had no issue with what Twitter had done, charged that Trump and the people in Parler were “inciting violence and saying a lot of dangerous things, so I think that these companies did the right thing by taking them off so they couldn’t do that anymore.”
Of course, there are two problems here. The first is that Trump and the people at Parler were not inciting violence. Trump never incited violence on social media or in any of his speeches. He very specifically called for peaceful and patriotic protests at the Capitol, not calling for rioting at all. He also called for the people protesting to go home within an hour of the riot happening and has repeatedly condemned the actions that occurred.
The second problem is that Twitter and social media platforms don’t have an issue with incitement of violence because, again, the Left was inciting violence all of last summer pretty explicitly, and Madonna incited violence by making a terroristic threat back in 2017. So even if it was true that Trump and people in Parler were inciting violence (which is not true and a lie told by the fake news media), it’s not like big tech enforces that rule objectively. They punish conservatives whom they claim incite violence, but not the people who actually incite violence when such people are Leftists and targeting conservatives.
At any rate, this article is getting a tad long and I’ve only really covered roughly half of the 5-minute video (below) from Campus Reform, so I would like to get to an interesting point.
At one point, Smith asks if the students think big tech is too big of a monopoly and if we should break them up or regulate them in general.
The reasons I think this is an interesting point are two-fold. First, despite the fact that the students were rather mixed in their response to social media and big tech censorship, they ALL agreed that it’s too powerful and should be regulated at some capacity.
The second is the following: One of the students said: “I think there does need to be more government regulation in order to prevent them from doing whatever they want.”
This response floored me because this was from one of the people who earlier said “These companies are private companies and they can do whatever they want.”
Okay, so if private businesses are allowed to do whatever they want, then BP was allowed to spill as much oil as they wanted in the Gulf of Mexico? I understand that it was just an accident, but would and should have they been allowed to do that? After all, private businesses can do whatever they want, right?
Should manufacturers not pay their employees anything and use forced slave labor? After all, private businesses can do whatever they want, right?
Should Twitter and Facebook be allowed to hire hitmen to kill people they don’t like? After all, private businesses can do whatever they want, right?
And this is where that idea is inconvenient to the Left. They use that argument because the targets are conservatives, but when the target is anyone or anything else, they abandon that argument super quickly. They believe that businesses shouldn’t be allowed to pollute all they want, but they also believe that private businesses should be able to do whatever they want?
Now, a liberal might argue: “Just because businesses can do whatever they want doesn’t mean they should do whatever they want.” Oh, so you support government regulation to make sure that Twitter can’t unfairly ban speech just because they don’t like it?
And, by the way, don’t buy into the notion that “private businesses can do whatever they want.” That has NEVER been the case in the history of businesses. For as long as governments exist, they have been regulatory powers over businesses, big and small. Private businesses have never been able to do whatever they want, particularly after a Dutch megacorporation quite literally owned portions of India, having access to an actual military force.
So the argument that “private businesses can do whatever they want” is a false premise.
But still, it’s rather interesting how someone argues “Twitter is a private business and can choose who they have on their platform and can do whatever they want” while in other places also argue that oil companies, despite their private ownership, should not be able to pollute as much as they want or employ business practices which would violate the 13th amendment. The government regulates such businesses, to the glee of the Left, but it’s too much for the government to regulate big tech?
That’s not even an argument they make, to the admission of that one student. That student also wants big tech regulated by the government, despite his earlier statement that private businesses can do whatever they want.
You cannot hold both positions at the same time – they are contradictory to one another. Either private businesses can do whatever they want, so there should be absolutely no regulation whatsoever against them, which would require the abolishment or ignorance of the 13th amendment alongside all other human rights, or they can’t do whatever they want, so they should be regulated to an extent and that includes social media so they don’t infringe on people’s First Amendment rights.
You can’t have it both ways.
The use of the internet should be considered a utility like water, gas, electricity, etc. Social media has become the new public square and, to Twitter’s own admission, it would be a violation of human rights to keep people from being able to access it.
Like I argued in the previous article on this topic, I wouldn’t go that far, but would argue that it’s a First Amendment/overall civil right for people to use social media.
Those who are against that idea support an anti-capitalistic dogma and have the gall to sell it as capitalistic. Awful.
“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”
In my opinion, the United States should have also banned big tech ahead of its own elections, seeing as they at least played some part in the election interference (something which they admitted to planning on doing shortly after Trump’s election victory in 2016). It’s kind of a shame that Uganda can run elections better than the U.S. can.
But in any case, let’s get to the main subject of the article. A couple of days ago, the president of Uganda temporarily banned Facebook, Twitter and all other big social media platforms ahead of its elections because, according to a spokesman for President Museveni, “Facebook is interfering in the electoral process of Uganda. If people wanted to have evidence of outside interference, now they have it.”
The official Twitter account for the government of Uganda tweeted: “The President warns that if social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are not being friendly and equitable to some of the Ugandans, then there is no reason as to why we should have them operate here.”
Facebook alleged to the AP that Museveni’s campaign “used fake and duplicate accounts to manage pages, comment on other people’s content, impersonate users, re-share posts in groups to make them appear more popular than they were. Given the impending election in Uganda, we moved quickly to investigate and take down this network.”
See, I’d be more willing to believe that Facebook was cracking down on those who clearly violated their TOS if they hadn’t spent the last few years cracking down on those who did not violate their TOS and only held and shared dissenting opinions from the ones Facebook shared. How many of you reading this article have been put in Facebook jail at least once? How many times do you believe you violated the platform’s TOS to deserve such a punishment? What caused you to be punished in such a way? Sharing violent threats? Sharing misinformation? Because Leftists can do both of those things with utter impunity. Did you share things which were pro-Trump but a bigoted Leftist (or a number of them) reported your post/comment(s)?
Madonna, back in 2017, publicly shared that she had thought “an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” Terroristic comments like that, when uttered by Leftists and aimed at the Right, are allowed on social media.
Now, a liberal might argue: “But she made that threat in a speech during a protest in D.C., not on Facebook, so why would social media ban her?” I don’t know, why did they ban the sitting president’s account? The “incitement” that the Left claims he made was also made in a speech during a protest in D.C. The words he used, by the way, included “peacefully”, so he never even got close to making a terroristic threat like Madonna. And yet, he gets purged from social media, but Madonna receives no punishment.
The Ayatollah Khamenei frequently breaks social media TOS by making threats against America, Jews, Christians, etc., and his account is not only not banned, but some have reported that he was PROMOTED by Twitter as someone for them to follow.
So forgive me if I don’t exactly believe Facebook’s side of the story here. They very well could be telling the truth, but I could hardly care at this point. If they wanted my sympathy and support, they shouldn’t swing their ban hammers around in the direction of right-wingers solely for the purpose of being right-wing.
Naturally, since Twitter was also on the receiving end of this Ugandan ban, they bitched and moaned against “censorship.”
“Ahead of the Ugandan election, we’re hearing reports that Internet service providers are being ordered to block social media and messaging apps. We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet,” said Twitter’s Public Policy account.
And, I just have to say, thank you so very much, Twitter, you hypocritical morons. You have just given those of us who support the regulation of social media a massive gift by admitting that what you provide is a “basic human right”.
Uganda didn’t outright ban the internet, it just banned big tech social media platforms. By saying that banning such content is a violation of basic human rights, you give up the argument that people don’t have a basic right to having and using a Twitter account.
LOLbertarians (libertarians who hilariously support tyranny when it comes from corporations) argue that “no one has a right to Twitter” or Facebook, etc. Apparently, Twitter itself does not agree with them, seeing as they believe taking away Ugandans’ ability to use social media is a violation of basic human rights.
So, then, what purpose does any lawyer have to not go after Twitter for violating the basic human rights of thousands of conservative accounts, including that of the President of the United States?
Now, I wouldn’t argue that it’s a “basic human right”, but it should be considered part of a First Amendment right to free speech. Social media, particularly the big ones, have become the new public square. It’s where people share their opinions on things if they so choose. To ban someone for holding the “wrong” opinion is a clear violation of that First Amendment right.
“But the founders never envisioned something like the internet and social media when they wrote the First Amendment.” True, but they also didn’t envision modern weapons like what we have today, but if you could ask them about modern weapons, there’s no doubt they would include such weapons as being protected under the Second Amendment.
They wrote the Second Amendment with the idea that an armed people would be more difficult to be subjected to tyranny. The weapons people had back then were just about the same as what official militaries had. If anything, I would argue that the founders would make the case for citizens being able to wield the same kinds of weapons that the military has. Maybe not things like tanks, helicopters and aircraft, but fully automatic guns and other things. Maybe not grenades and other explosives, but who knows?
So if they intended for Americans to be able to protect themselves with guns, likely knowing that guns would evolve one day and advancements would be made, why wouldn’t they argue in favor of free speech in places like even social media?
What’s more, Leftists have no issue with claiming that athletes have the right to protest the flag before games, despite the fact that they are 1) employees of the NFL/the teams that signed them and 2) working in stadiums held by private companies. So if athletes can exercise their free speech rights despite the private ownership of both the teams that signed them/the league that they play for and the private ownership of the stadiums in which they play, why can’t everyday Americans exercise their free speech rights in privately owned social media platforms?
I mean, even Twitter is admitting here that it’s a “basic human right” to be able to use their services. I wouldn’t go that far, but people definitely have a First Amendment right to use their services in such a way.
“But what about the crazy people like QAnon, who come up with insane conspiracy theories about everything?” What about the crazy people like the Democrat party, which came up with the insane conspiracy theory that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election?
I’m not one to strongly defend Q because a lot of what those guys say is, at best, baseless and without evidence, but let’s not pretend as though the Left isn’t just as baseless and without evidence about a lot of things they say. For three and a half years, CNN and other fake news media organizations ran with the utter lie that Trump colluded with Russia, despite zero evidence turning up that would prove it. That was as much of a conspiracy theory as the theory that Trump is sending good guys in the DOJ to arrest high-profile individuals like the Clintons, Obamas, Soros, etc.
The idea that Trump tried to collude with Ukraine against Biden is as much a conspiracy theory as the one that JFK Jr. is still alive. No evidence means no real reason to believe it’s true. So if Q should be banned from social media because of what they say, then so should the OVERWHELMING majority of the Left.
But as long as they aren’t harming anyone, or calling for the harm of anyone, why wouldn’t they be allowed to use social media?
There was a guy I saw recently who claimed that the Trump Administration reached out to him and people like him (the guy is from Britain and lived in what looked like a very small and inexpensive apartment) about something regarding Trump staying in office for the next four years with the help of the military. The guy, in his “About” page (he has a website), claims that he is someone who was frequently visited by aliens, “shadow people”, or something like that, and in general, other crazy stuff. The guy is off his rocker, clearly, but what harm does he do by saying what he does?
Without providing any evidence, there is no reason to believe anything he says (and his other claims regarding aliens and what-not make any of his claims dubious at best). Why should he not be allowed a platform when the fake news media, again, without evidence, is allowed massive platforms to claim that Trump colluded with Russia (among other things)?
And with that same zero amount of evidence, why would Twitter and Facebook not ban people that made that sort of claim if the platforms are intent on stopping the spread of disinformation?
The fact of the matter is that the Left is a frequent breaker of social media platforms’ TOS, and yet, they hardly ever receive punishment for their actions. The social media giants have clear agendas and an intent on silencing dissenting voices of opinion, regardless of whether or not they break the TOS.
So, again, forgive me if I fail to show or have any sympathy for the woes of social media giants when Uganda chooses to ban the platforms ahead of its elections.
It’s not even like I’m necessarily taking the Ugandan governments’ word for their reasons to ban the tech giants. Maybe the Museveni campaign is doing everything Facebook is alleging that they are. But with how often the tech giants cried “wolf” about people breaking their TOS who did not, in fact, break their TOS, why should I give Facebook or social media the benefit of the doubt?
Why would I side with them when, to Twitter’s own admission, they “violate basic human rights” when they strip people of their ability to use their platforms? They are every bit the censorious violators of free speech that they claim the Ugandan government to be, so why defend them at any capacity?
Give people back their free speech rights, and then I will side with them against the Ugandan government. Until then, and for as long as they choose to be corporate tyrants, I will support regulating them and even breaking them up.
Monopolies shouldn’t exist anyway.
“Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.”
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