As news of the Cambridge Analytica data breach of as many as 87 million Facebook users led to congressional hearings with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying, the center of the issue seems to have shifted to the topic of social media censorship of conservatives and Christians. And many are calling for government regulation of social media to force the companies and platforms that millions use daily to allow an equal exchange of “free speech.”
Some of those voices making the loudest calls for government intervention are coming from a few alt-tech sites that are very small in comparison to the “Big Tech” giants. One new social media platform, though is taking the opposite position: Keep the government out of it and let the free market handle this. That CEO is Derek Peterson of Oneway. As this writer explained in a previous article:
In the world of social media, Facebook and Twitter are the twin Goliaths. They dominate the social media market. They also systematically censor posts and use manipulative tactics to influence the ways users think, interact with each other, and even vote in elections. But now, thanks to a love of free speech and the power of alt-tech, a new David has arrived on the scene to compete with those twin Goliaths. The new social media platform — ONEWAY — is prepared to become the platform for those who love free speech.
ONEWAY — which was launched in early January — is described as “The free speech and human friendly alternative to Google, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit, Imgur, and Patreon.” While that may seem like a large bill to fill, the site boasts nearly all of the features of those sites and more. The “features” that are present in those platforms but absent from ONEWAY are those that diminish privacy and free speech and aid in surveillance.
Perhaps the most attractive thing about Oneway is that it stands on the firm foundation of allowing the free market to let platforms compete for users without any involvement by government. So while Oneway positions itself as a platform for free speech, others may not and users can decide where to spend their social media time.
Peterson’s idea is not new; It is the way things were always done before government got involved in everything from schools to health care, from manufacturing to retail. To a generation of millennials who have grown up with all of that government regulation, the old idea of a free market (which they have never really experienced) only looks new.
And considering the mess government regulation has made of everything it has touched, allowing any government regulation of the Internet is an idea so bad as to boggle the mind. In a video recently published at Oneway.com, Peterson addresses the dangers of asking — or even allowing — the government to regulate “free speech” on the Internet. And — just to put in the for-what-it’s-worth column — government regulation cannot produce “free speech.” The two are mutually exclusive.
Peterson begins his video by saying, “I’ve just been so angered of late with all of this censorship that’s taking place — but not so much the censorship that has me mad, that’s kind of expected from the kind of folks we’re dealing with — it’s the response to the censorship that’s really got me mad.”
Peterson’s original post and video can be seen here.
He explains that the real issue is the “response from people [that] should all have enough common sense to know better than to do the kind of things that they’re doing” such as calling for government involvement.
“Right now on the Internet, all the ‘Big Techs’ — Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, even Reddit — all of them basically are censoring conservatives and Christians.” And while many of those conservatives and Christians who have found themselves on the receiving end of censorship have sought to pressure “Big Tech” to change its ways and keep its promise to provide platforms that allow for diverse opinions, that hasn’t happened. Now, though, Peterson says, “even liberals are getting censored.”
Peterson says that the censorship of liberals makes him “really nervous that this is a set-up.”
To illustrate his point, Peterson tells the story of a Christian ministry in Texas many years ago that operated a group of homes for troubled teens. He says their success rate was incredibly high, with kids coming there from all over the world as drug addicts, prostitutes, and violent criminals and leaving with their lives rebuilt and “completely changed” by the Gospel principles they learned and the love they were shown while there.
But during this time, the “Moonies” — a bizarre cult officially known as the Unification Church of the United States — announced plans to open communes in Texas. Peterson explains, “So all the conservatives, all the Christians said, ‘Oh, we’ve got to stop this from happening. We’ve got to pass some legislation, pass some laws, and make the government prevent them from being able to set up these communes to protect us and our society from these people.’”
Surprisingly, the liberals agreed and helped push the legislation through. The conservatives and Christians thought it was great that they had allies in the fight to keep the “Moonies” out of Texas.
Spoiler alert: It didn’t turn out well for those conservatives and Christians.
As Peterson explains, “Sure enough, they get the laws passed and kept the ‘Moonies’ from coming in.” But — and here is the rub — “Within weeks of those laws going through and the ‘Moonies’ getting booted, guess what happened: The liberals — your new friends — turned those laws around on us and threw out this wonderful, wonderful ministry that was helping tens of thousands of kids.”
Peterson sums up his story by saying, “That’s what happens when the government gets involved, folks.”
Peterson’s logical argument is reminiscent of a quote from French economist and assemblyman Frederic Bastiat in which he condemned his government for "concocting the antidote and the poison in the same laboratory" and for devoting "half of its resources to destroying the evil it has done with the other half." And while Bastiat wrote those words in the mid-1800s, they are as applicable today as ever.
After all, when the government finally gets around to regulating free speech (an oxymoron so ridiculous that it is difficult to type without feeling stupid), it will likely reach out to the same “Big Tech” CEOs who created the problem to have them draft the solution.
None of that, though, has kept so-called conservatives and many in the alt-tech world from crying out to the government to save us from having our social media posts censored by those who run the platforms where we want to express ourselves. Peterson addresses that by pointing out that many of those alt-tech CEOs are really just small-tech CEOs who want to be “Big Tech” CEOs. And they seem to think government intervention is the shortest path.
In a statement to The New American, Peterson drove that point home, saying, “You can’t go into a church and stand up and voice disagreement with the sermon. They would show you the door. This is no different.” Again, Peterson is right: This writer may not like that Facebook, Twitter, and others silence my voice on their platforms, but that is beside the point; The point is that it is their platform and they have that right. Users have the right to choose not to use those services, electing instead for platforms — such as Oneway that don’t practice that censorship.
Photo at top: solitude72/iStock/Getty Images Plus