The Real Victim Of Social Media Censorship Is Personal Responsibility

Authored by Brittany Hunter via The Foundation for Economic Education,

Only the individual is responsible for their consumption of information...

Between Trump’s tirades against alleged “fake news” outlets and the recent banning of Alex Jones from Facebook, Apple, and YouTube, our society appears to be obsessed with trying to silence the opposition by controlling the flow of information. And while the recent Jones prohibition has sparked a national debate over who the First Amendment applies to, there is more to this story than just the issue of state-protected free speech.

To be sure, the Bill of Rights is vital to individual liberty and was written explicitly to restrain the government from infringing upon the rights of the people. And while Facebook may sometimes be more accommodating to the government than many of us would like, the fact remains that it is a private company and it has the right to ban whomever it chooses. The same goes for YouTube and Apple.

And while we are each free to disagree with the decision to censor certain users, debating the constitutionality of Facebook and Apple’s decision ignores the real heart of the matter: Facebook, CNN, Apple, YouTube, and Fox News are not responsible for the spread of misinformation, no matter how much believing so may reinforce our own narratives. When all is said and done, the only person responsible for distinguishing fact from fiction is the individual.

Individual Responsibility Still Exists

When I was a child and used to accompany my mother to the grocery store, I would always stare in wonder at the sensational tabloid magazines that sat near the registers. “Saddam Hussein is Really a Woman,” one headline read. Another claimed to have an exclusive interview with a man with four heads while another had the scoop on the exorcism of a demonic cat. Even as a child, I understood these headlines were false, but I was still confused.

“Why are these magazines allowed to tell lies? Shouldn’t this be illegal?” I asked my mother. “What if someone believes them?”

“Some people do believe them,” she said as she told me about her friend from school who never missed an issue of World Daily News. She continued, “But each person is responsible for making that decision for themselves.”

The freedom to choose and think for ourselves is one of the most sacred attributes of the individual. But over the last several years, many Americans have adopted an attitude that puts political opinions ahead of individual responsibility.

Politics has created a divide in which everyone is accusing those with different opinions of spreading misinformation. And to be sure, in the political world, there is a lot of misinformation. This is not exclusive to just one party; everyone is guilty of it. But the finger-pointing has gotten out of hand. And the recent banning of Alex Jones and the Infowars podcast has demonstrated just how severe the problem has become.

While Facebook and others have denied that the banning of Jones has anything to do with the fear of spreading “misinformation,” that is essentially what their argument boils down to. Facebook, YouTube, and Apple have all stated that Jones was removed from their platforms for violating their respective terms of use. Specifically, the social media giants have each cited hate speech and bullying as the primary causes. And out of fear that people will subscribe to Jones’ beliefs, which some do, these organizations have made the decision to censor information they deem to be false or misleading.

Hateful opinions will exist whether Jones is on social media or not, but at least by allowing him to say his peace, we allow people to make their own decisions about his views. And if those decisions include the foolish choice to judge someone based on their race, immigration status, or sexual orientation, then at least we know who to avoid. By allowing people to freely associate with unsavory people, we can make better use of that same freedom by choosing to disassociate ourselves. Alleged “hate speech” should be treated as a social signal, not an excuse to ban.

The best way to combat bad ideas is with good ideas. And by allowing a plethora of different opinions to be circulated on social media, you give individuals the opportunity to judge the merits of each opinion and ultimately make their own decision. And if our ideas are truly the “right” ideas, then we have nothing to fear.

The rise of the alt-right and the alt-left has brought all sorts of weirdos out of hiding and yes, some of them have views that most of us would deem inappropriate and even immoral. But banning them only shows that we fear what they have to say. There is a market of ideas where different viewpoints compete with others. And if we, as individuals, believe that our view is the “right” or “good” view, then we should let that it compete on its own merits in the marketplace of ideas.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appears to understand this, as he has refused to participate in the Jones ban, saying:

If we succumb and simply react to outside pressure, rather than straightforward principles we enforce (and evolve) impartially regardless of political viewpoints, we become a service that’s constructed by our personal views that can swing in any direction. That’s not us.

And even though this decision has resulted in backlash from the left who have attacked him for not taking a “stand” against Jones, Dorsey has stood his ground. He even responded to the criticism via tweet, telling journalists that if they are concerned with Jones’ views, they should be diligently combating them with their own opinions.

“Accounts like Jones’ can often sensationalize issues and spread unsubstantiated rumors, so it’s critical journalists document, validate, and refute such information directly so people can form their own opinions. This is what serves the public conversation best.” He also released a statement stating that his platform cannot, and I would argue should not, be “the arbiter of truth” in regards to determining which information is true or false.

But no matter who you side with, this problem is hardly exclusive to the left. Trump seized on the term “fake news” (originally deployed by his political enemies) because he disagreed with what CNN and other news outlets had to say about him. But while these private companies are entitled to ban those they disagree with, they should be aware that this act is opening up the door to something much more threatening: government censorship.

Censorship by Any Other Name…

The prohibition of Alex Jones has led Democratic Senator Chris Murphy to call for increased censorship in order to “protect our democracy.” In a chilling tweet, he said:

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.

If the flow of all information, true or false, is tearing our nation apart, then it wasn’t very strong to begin with. And for an elected official who, unlike Facebook, has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution is calling for further censorship, then every single one of us has cause for concern.

We can argue until we are blue in the face over whether or not Facebook and Twitter should censor information, but the government has no business calling for such an act.

So, if Facebook can, but probably shouldn’t, ban users and posts it doesn’t like, and the government most certainly should not and is constitutionally prohibited from censoring opinions, what are we to do to stop the spread of misinformation? It may bother some of you to hear that the answer is: absolutely nothing.

All we can do is create and circulate information and trust that our ideas are strong enough to speak for themselves. Only the individual is responsible for their consumption of information. And by constantly trying to ban everything, we are really demonstrating that we do not trust the individual’s ability to make the right decision.

Comments

takeaction Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:05 Permalink

Infowars is blowing up....6 million downloads on their phone app.  The downloads are crushing the MSM.  This is going to really blow up in their face.  Just a few minutes ago listening to MSNBC on Satellite radio (Have to here what they are crying about)...they had a full 10 to 12 minutes about Alex Jones.  This is playing out perfect.... You can't pay for this type of advertising.  I for one am for FULL CENSORSHIP....Let it rip...Why? Because maybe it will crash this train we are on sooner.

Alananda bamawatson Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:46 Permalink

Bill Hicks ==> Alex Jones

Check out Miles Mathis -- real eye-openers RE faking one's death, morphing from one asset form to another, the lineage of a relative few families garnering the majority of "famous folks", not too mention filthy rich, etc.

In reply to by bamawatson

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 takeaction Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:35 Permalink

Being banned was the best free advertising he could get! Jones has always allowed people to copy his content. He mentioned this on his show, that his crew is posting content into small segments and he encourages people to copy his content and post it on YT! Too funny! The left never understood Jones. They still don't.

Fuck the techno tyrants!

In reply to by takeaction

Skip takeaction Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:40 Permalink

Alex Jones Launches Free Speech RED PILL Campaign – STORMERS JOIN WITH HIM!
Andrew Anglin August 9, 2018

Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean Forgetting

As the reader who has been around for a year or more shall recall, I was super-duper fucking ultra-pissed to the max that Alex Jones didn’t make an issue of it when I became the most censored person in all of history.

I said to Alex and Molyneux and all of these “one step to the left” people that they were next, and they should all be rallying around me. I invited Alex to talk to me privately, pointed out the fact that I have NEVER divulged anything told to me in confidence, or any individual who has contacted me in confidence – and have never been accused of that thing – but was not contacted.

He also could have talked about it without talking to me. He could have done the whole “I’m against the Nazis and blah blah blah but free speech” – instead, he was completely silent on my unpersoning, as was Stefan Molyneux.

I am still mad about this, to be honest.

And I am mad that he is now saying he is the first person this has happened to. Because that just isn’t true.

However, though I will never forget, I have done my best to forgive, and realize that we now have to rally around Alex Jones.

These 2 articles cover what GOOGLE and the rest of the "free competition" internet bosses did to Andrew Anglin and his website the Daily Stormer:
After Protests, EU Decides to Reconsider Law Banning Memes
Andrew Anglin July 5, 2018

"The internet is making very powerful people very powerfully angry."

UN Passes Resolution Declaring Free Expression on the Internet a Human Right
Andrew Anglin July 10, 2018

Jewish Intellectual Activism for Internet Control
July 24, 2018 Andrew Joyce, Ph.D. Dr Joyce is a retired professor from England.

In reply to by takeaction

xrxs takeaction Fri, 08/10/2018 - 19:37 Permalink

I'd never listened to Alex Jones before this week (save for a Vine or two of his greatest hits... eg. frogs), but as a believer in the power of free speech and the marketplace of ideas, I downloaded his app to show some solidarity.  I listened, and found his first hand account of what's now happening to his business fascinating. He lost me a bit on the China stuff,  but I'll probably tune in again to get his insider perspective on this unprecedented censorship.

In reply to by takeaction

CheapBastard xrxs Fri, 08/10/2018 - 19:47 Permalink

he has an interesting take on most things and is very thought provoking, which I like no matter where it comes from.

I still enjoy re-runs of the William Buckly show where you can here excellent debates of conservative and liberal scholars. Too bad that's a lost part of our culture, open debate and free speech that is. The lefties with Clinton-Obama-soros, etc really screwed that up for us.

In reply to by xrxs

edotabin xrxs Sat, 08/11/2018 - 02:23 Permalink

He will lose you quite a bit as you listen to him. He has a tendency to bounce around a bit. He seems to have settled on "globalists" as a term for TPTB.

His voice is royally annoying, he can be a full-blown drama queen and he rarely lets anyone else speak. OTOH he has built a substantial business, has a massive and rather loyal following but, most importantly, he should be allowed to speak freely.  After all, he sometimes does make sense and does have good points.

This banning and shadow banning business is absolutely ridiculous and very telling.

 

 

 

In reply to by xrxs

Last of the Mi… Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:07 Permalink

Social Media censorship? Umm how about liberal globalist agendas that promote entitlements for the sake of maintaining voter control in a constitutional society that strictly forbids it by law?

Calvertsbio roadhazard Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:18 Permalink

Because it is racist, bigots and for Profit to take from the public while trying to look patriotic. 

The Tax cuts alone to Big business are enough proof for the fools that bought it. Yet, here we are with the first couple posts on the thread PRO- American, liberals suck, shut down the liberal... What they meant to write was : I hate all colored people that are not white, I support the Pro Trump regime because it supports hate all colored people and will help me squash people that want to make a fair wage off of my business, Koch Brothers Business, Trump Hotels... That is what I am either PAID to write, or just want too because I hate Gay, Women unless they are on their back and I don't give a good god damn about any other human.

In reply to by roadhazard

Slaytheist Calvertsbio Fri, 08/10/2018 - 22:43 Permalink

What would you know about making deals, tax or otherwise?  In every deal, you give something.  And what do you know of economics?  Do you think that maybe that money was being injected into the market as a matter of protecting the stock market, while other financial policy was unfolding -- we are in HARD negotiations worldwide for the first time in generations. 

That's the thing.  You know, nothing, about nothing, and will always be nothing - without a paradigm shift that elevates failure and mediocrity.  

In reply to by Calvertsbio

Endgame Napoleon roadhazard Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:56 Permalink

Because....

Most of the media’s owners feel like globalist neoliberalism, which is embraced by most in both halves of the Uniparty, is the best set of views to maximize their profit—worldwide. Since the internet is inherently global, and since this is an internet era, people in the news BUSINESS are trying to control the news for business purposes.

This is a good article. I agree with her on the need to protect political speech, including political speech on the fringe. Despite my anti-mom-gang rants about workplace discrimination, I do not agree with Jones on Sandy Hook. Given the horrific nature of that tragedy, I think he should back off of that subject, but if Jones lacks the right to speak out on a subject, we all do.

It is interesting that the mainstream media is more likely to rail against speech that broaches controversial, head-turning issues, like the Jones / Sandy Hook thing or various sex scandals, as long as it boosts ratings and generates clicks. Some will tolerate such speech for the same reason: ratings & clicks.

Whereas reporters suppress economic information that contradicts their neoliberal-globalist agenda in a passive-aggressive way.

Take the shifting of over 6 million breadwinner jobs (and the SS contributions that would have been made) to cheap-labor havens in Asia & Latin America.

Take the 101 million US citizens of working age out of the labor force, the 78 million gig workers and the 42 million citizens and noncitizens who only work part time in womb-productive households. ‘Cause that is the only way to qualify for those programs; you have to fall under the income limits to get welfare.

This country only has 324 million people, and 20% of them are retirement age. This is a crisis. Do we have to design a Weekly World News article, with a triple-headed lizard and the BLS numbers that they ignore, putting it up on a magazine rack like the ones described in this article, to get the attention of the corporate-owned MSMers??? 

Cable news started during my junior-high years. This writer is probably too young to remember the pre-cable-news days when you had one—and only one—nightly newscast, wherein the format required reporters to do something other than catering to their target market, saying some things over and over for ratings-boosting purposes, while ignoring whole sections of news that contradict the world view of most reporters.

Most reporters are on the left.

 

In reply to by roadhazard

swamp Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:17 Permalink

No. It is our Constitution and Conservatism

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY because modern day assmebly is on social media platforms. 

Election tampering

Our Republic 

Endgame Napoleon khnum Fri, 08/10/2018 - 19:06 Permalink

Many on the left are so convinced that they are morally right; it is almost like an absolutist religion to them. In the case of the young, a lot of that stems from little life experience. But some of it results from safe employment. When the roof over your head has never been threatened by one—or MANY—majority-minority workplaces, where reverse racism is not regarded as immoral by the reigning cliques, including workplaces staffed by near-100% welfare-reinforced illegal aliens, it is pretty easy to put your substitute religion first. It makes you feel superior, too.

In reply to by khnum

Alananda donebydoug Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:52 Permalink

I'm 70+ years of age.  I have very regular bowel movements.  Perhaps you might try a natural laxative.

Call me anything you like, just don't call me late to dinner.  Wife's a chef, non-GMO, no pesticides, organic, no HFCS, fresh and wholesome from our garden or chickens (eggs, meat), else from reliable sources.  Our three dogs have never tasted commercial dog food.  Compared to their forepaws, they have had no vet bills, no chronic or acute disease.

"Your point?!" you ask.  Same as yours -- I totally concur.  Individual responsibility.

In reply to by donebydoug

Blue Steel 309 Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:36 Permalink

Libertarians like the author refuse to admit that National interests (including trade) and protection from corporate abuse should be functions of government. But, we can agree on most other things.

Consuelo Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:36 Permalink

There's that phrase again - 'They're a private company...'

Really...?

They were created in degree by taxpayer funded intelligence agency time & labor.

They are publicly-traded companies.

They band together (conspire) to muzzle political ideologies which do not fit theirs.

Just how private are they then...?

zedwood Consuelo Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:56 Permalink

The beauty of this setup - private companies controlling the public information sphere is how they get us into the Chinese model of state control.  Everybody is screaming to make these companies officially sanctioned (to protect the First Amendment).  Think about it, does that make things better or worse?  Officially sanctioned means they will never go away and nobody will be able to create an alternative of that size or scope.  I say keep the bans going until we all just tell them to take a hike.  But Sheeple, being sheeple...

In reply to by Consuelo

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:39 Permalink

I finally saw a discussion today about how Google is rolling out a censored search engine in China. Apparently it's ready to go. But the precious snotflakes got their panties in a wad and refused to do any work for the Pentagon.

If you wanted evidence that the techno tyrants are full blown commies, there you go.

Normal Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:49 Permalink

I made a topic model of 1622 articles of Alt-Right and Alt-Left websites for my summer research project at UCSB. Of course, I included ZeroHedge and the American Thinker, Breitbart, Blaze, Commentary Magazine and the like. Mixed them all together and peered into the crystal ball of the topic model to see how the themes of the resultant topics related to the "humanities." Out of all the themes to arise was the theme of "Family" as Topic #1. We are not all that different.

Yen Cross Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:55 Permalink

   I couldn't care less what anyone thinks about my opinion.

  It's all about the approach and providing actual facts.

   This is why the Libtards have no cohesive plans or ideas.

  They live in a permanent state of reaction , and fantasy land, as opposed to taking action based on the factual realities right under their oversized Pinocchio noses.

 Several decades ago, an education meant something.

Thom Paine Fri, 08/10/2018 - 19:44 Permalink

Actually I don't like Alex Jone's style of presentation - and everything takes so long.

Be brief and to the point please.

But I downloaded his App anyway.

mar719 Sat, 08/11/2018 - 00:27 Permalink

Thing is, is Alex Jones has been mostly right. Spent the last few days challenging anyone - ANYONE - to provide proof of the accusations being leveled. Unedited video to provide context? Nope. Nothing. Heavily edited sound bites and opinion commentary.

Social media held themselves out to be a public commons. Remember the judge who said Trump can't block users because Twitter is a ''public forum"?

What makes the private company argument irrelevant is these companies are selective in their enforcement, and the decisions being made are purely political. Their monopoly makes them similar to a utility. For example, imagine Ma Bell in the old days turning off your phone service, convinced you might engage in 'hateful speech'. They're acting as publishers with editor rights, not a public forum. At the very least, this is fraud.

Modern day Free of Assembly is done on these supposedly public forums.

whatamaroon Sat, 08/11/2018 - 01:23 Permalink

Alex Jones got my respect and helped open my eyes when he would go to the Bildeberg NWO elitist  confabs and try reporting on their comings and goings. At first I thought he was being a pest, but now I realized he opened eyes about how evil the NWO elitists are, as they tried to ban him from reporting on their conferences.

MoreFreedom Sat, 08/11/2018 - 12:34 Permalink

When private companies censor (which they are free to do), it just shows they censor and push their favored narratives.  Then everyone knows, and any claims to being neutral are ignored.   The media can't even claim to be neutral without most people disbelieving them anymore, as they've lied too many times.  

I'll start believing the media when they out anonymous sources that have been proven to be liars.  To date, I've not seen one lying anonymous source outed, which tells you the MSM just want to print more lies (and the lying is all about false stories about Trump as I've not seen any lies about Obama or Hillary, just lies from them).