Social-media platforms continue to violate free-speech protections under the guise of prohibiting so-called hate speech and enhancing security. And a Democratic senator is claiming that it is the role of tech companies to engage in such unconstitutional practices and crack down on controversial websites in order to maintain “democracy” in the United States.
Shortly after Facebook, Apple, Spotify, and Google suspended the accounts of Infowars’ Alex Jones and Twitter suspended black conservative Candace Owen, Twitter suspended the accounts of former State Department employee Peter Van Buren, Antiwar editorial director Scott Horton, and executive director of the Ron Paul Institute Daniel McAdams.
According to Zero Hedge, Horton was disciplined for using “improper language” against journalist Jonathan M. Katz, McAdams was suspended for retweeting Horton, and both of them were objecting to a quarrel between Katz and Van Buren that resulted in Van Buren’s suspension.
Media giants such as Google and Twitter are attempting to be more vigilant in regulating speech on their platforms after facing criticism over failing to prevent alleged interference from Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Media platforms are now using that as an excuse to engage in censorship of mostly conservative accounts.
Former U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage, who was largely responsible for leading his country to vote to leave the European Union in 2016, criticized the media giants in an op-ed published on Fox News on Tuesday.
“These platforms that claim to be ‘open’ and in favor of ‘free speech’ are now routinely targeting — whether by human intervention or not — the views and expressions of conservatives and anti-globalists,” he wrote.
Farage begrudged the notion that Russian interference hurts “US democracy” and claimed instead that it is interference from powerful corporations such as the media giants that is most concerning.
“The most avowed First Amendment, free speech defenders must surely be on the side of those — like me — who believe it is not within the gift of corporations to decide what is acceptable speech or not,” he continued, “especially when they harvest and sell data about all of us en masse as the underlying business model.”
But according to Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut (shown), it is indeed the role of tech companies to engage in this type of behavior, in order to advance the survival of American democracy, the Washington Examiner reported.
Murphy tweeted that private companies “shouldn’t knowingly spread lies and hate.” He used that justification to defend Apple’s, Facebook’s, YouTube’s, Pinterest’s, and Spotify’s decision to remove Alex Jones and his Infowars program from their platforms after citing violations of codes of conduct related to “hate speech.”
“Infowars is the tip of a giant iceberg of hate and lies that uses sites like Facebook and YouTube to tear our nation apart. These companies must do more than take down one website. The survival of our democracy depends on it,” Murphy tweeted Monday.
Leaving aside the fact that America is a republic, not a democracy, one big question remains: Who should be responsible for determining what constitutes “hate speech”? In these cases, it is often liberal and leftist organizations labeling conservative or libertarian speech as hate. After all, true libertarians and constitutionalists recognize the sanctity of the First Amendment and refrain from censorship even in the face of truly controversial speech from their leftist counterparts.
The easy answer is that no one should be able to claim this responsibility. There is no proper criteria to determine what constitutes “hate speech” as it all depends on perspective, and it would be supremely unconstitutional to entrust such an impossible responsibility on individuals who will always be skewed by their own bias.
For this reason, the Founding Fathers did not leave us a “democracy” as Senator Murphy claims, since democracies are nothing more than mob rule, in which 51 percent can usurp the rights of the remaining 49 percent. Instead, they entrusted the people with a constitutional republic that relies on the rule of law to ensure that all individual liberties are protected, instead of just the will of the majority.
Unfortunately, too many of today’s liberals have either forgotten or chosen to ignore this reality and instead justify censorship of conservative voices in the war to preserve “democracy.” Somewhere along the way, they decided that the U.S. Constitution protects the right to not be offended rather than the right to free speech, and even worse, they’ve continually applied that fake right inequitably. Conservatives and Christians can be offended regularly but the minute a liberal, non-white, female, non-Christian, non-American is even mildly offended, the gloves come off and the accounts come down.
Farage is proposing a social-media bill of rights in countries throughout the world to prohibit such leftist censorship practices. He encourages all free-speech advocates to take a stance, even if they do not align with “right-wingers.” He contends, “Unless we take a stand now, who knows where it could end.”