When I was a kid we had a game that involved tying two tin cans together with a long string. With the string tight, each kid would take turns speaking into one can while his partner would listen. We thought it was great fun. Today’s communications technologies are incredibly complex. Unfortunately with that complexity comes censorship of our basic right to speak, especially when in time of pandemic. Today we will discuss why free expression is vital and should never have been abridged.
All social media sites have to have some standards. Let’s be clear on that. Threats, vulgar language and direct racist language are unnecessary. However, when access to information on a subject is cut off, it threatens the very fabric of freedom. Perhaps the downhill slide from a free speech society to one that prohibits free expression can be traced to the year 2000 AD. Google was nothing more than a search engine, and Amazon an online book store. Facebook had not been invented yet either. (1)
Big tech began to grow, and gradually became essential parts of people’s lives. Then something began to happen. Big tech began to not so subtly alter their algorithms. They are aided by the Communications Decency Act, 47 USC section 230. (2) This act was aimed at giving Big Tech immunity from lawsuits when taking down content such as pornography. However, as Big tech began going further and further to the Left, they began censor things that were political as well. They have gone far beyond eliminating pornography.
In a shocking act of censorship, the Left wing media companies censored a US president, Donald J. Trump. The same companies have censored stories about the allegedly criminal dealings of Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden. (3)
YouTube also has forced some conservative commentators into private mode, which means only the uploader can see it. Other videos on the popular Prager U channel were forced into restricted mode, to prevent children from viewing the videos. That is despite that there is no possibly offensive content, the videos there being about political information. (4)
One of the worst examples of censorship, which was clearly coordinated by Big Tech, was the deplatforming of Alex Jones, a popular right wing talk show host. On August 6, 2018 Alex Jones was simultaneously deplatformed by all major tech companies. This was done to the horror of his fans– and to the delight of the American Left. Alex Jones still has his websites. (5)
The anger of the American public over this censorship has led to the creation of platforms that are free speech based. YouTube is threatened by Rumble.com which is located in in Toronto, Canada. These companies are not exempt from Big Tech wrath, however. On January 10, 2021 the same deplatforming was done to the popular free speech social media site Parler. The tech giant Amazon was responsible for doing this, making false claims about Parler supporting violence in the January 6, 2021 demonstrations. So far, lawsuits against Amazon have been unsuccessful. (6)
The First Amendment of the United States is there to prevent the congress from passing laws that would restrict free speech. However, some politicians have been abusing their positions and demanding that Big Tech increase their censorship of political opinions. Facebook, Google and Twitter are being pressured by Leftist politicians to increase censorship. By doing this, the Leftists are making an end run around the First Amendment, in order to take free speech rights away from Americans. (7) They are not satisfied with this, however. Some even want tech companies to censor even private text messages! This is to shut people out of being able to say anything bad about the Pandemic information or “vaccines”. (8)
Where this is going I don’t know. It depends on public action– or lack thereof. The egregious censorship of information has got to be stopped. How can this be done? With the right people in office, perhaps Section 230 above could be repealed. A lack of action is what we must NOT have. Your right to express yourself in a once free country is rapidly being eroded. There could come a time, if people do NOT act, where your most private and reliable means of communication will be two tin cans and a string.