In today’s episode, I do my best to tackle the notions of social media being solely a private enterprise. This is often the only argument offered as to why it’s okay for “Big Tech” to de-platform voices they don’t like. It’s one thing if these supposedly private companies want to alienate a portion of it’s customers. But, when they do so at the behest of government, we are now treading some murky waters. We are going to have to recognize social media is promoted as a platform for expressing oneself to an audience.
No one makes you follow, like or share anyone else’s post. You are free to move along and find your entertainment or information elsewhere. Social media is today’s digital town square and the First Amendment was designed to keep you safe in that setting. If these companies had remained politically neutral, they could argue they are not subject to the First Amendment. But, when they choose to act, think and align politically with one party over another, we now have infringement of speech via a sanctioned third party. In effect, government is using the private sector argument to shield itself, while demanding the silencing of people and ideas they do not like.
They are trying to change the rules, or, at the very least, circumnavigate the rules, to get what they want. To make that point, I remind everyone what Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, said in 2005 when in the minority. At that time, there was discussion over removing the filibuster to aid a Republican majority. Senator Schumer was vehemently against changing the rules to impose the will of the majority party. He called it akin to a dictatorship and the doomsday for democracy.
Isn’t it funny how they want to keep changing the rules when it works in their favor? Much like using a third party to limit public dissent when they are not getting their way.