Technology

On Free Speech

The major industry leaders that supply user generated content, Google, Facebook, Apple and Spotify, removed Alex Jones and Infowars from there platforms citing violation of policy.

Whether or not the removal is a violation of the First Amendment, as Jones claims, is a non-discussion. It’s not. These platforms are the property of the corporations that own them and they have the right to host, or not host, whatever content they want in so much as it does not violate copyright or other content legality laws. User generated content platforms are actually more limited in what they can host, not what they can’t.

Some thoughts that matter here.

1-We demand and rely on distribution channels that come from a small group of corporations, mostly unregulated in their distribution processes, to provide us with access to our free press.

2-It’s not obvious that the frictionless process of content creation and distribution has improved the quality and usefulness of information for an informed population with a civic duty to understand things.

3-A small group of co-located corporations from the same industry were able to move in coordination with each other to remove a channel of information that yields that channel mostly inconsequential.

At the risk of being a conspiracy theorist, those three thoughts together mean we are extremely trusting of a small group of individuals to do the right thing. And we are surrendering agency, via that trust, mostly to ensure their platforms continue to exist when it’s not obvious that existence helps them or us more.

 

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