I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, likely over and over until I’m exasperated: Freedom is binary.
There are no grey areas with freedom, nor are there exceptions, exclusions, or exculpatory allowances. There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s either. You are either free, or you are not free.
This hard drawn line is most readily apparent in the fight for free speech in America, and is only clouded today by the “private” distinction of the companies who control the public domain of social media. Google, Facebook, Twitter and others have long maintained that their status as “private” companies allows them to decide what sort of content their platforms allow or promote, but what they are failing to mention in all this is where their clout even comes from.
We The People are their only resource. When they’re not taking advertising dollars from other enormous corporations in order to shove some useless product down our throats, they are mining our app usage for our data – data that is then used to enhance the accuracy and efficacy of the aforementioned advertising partners.
These platforms are built on our backs, using our harvested data, and couldn’t possibly exist without this input. We’ve paid our dues for this public discussion space, and we should be free to use them as we please, (up until the point that we cross established lines of decorum in regard to hate speech and incitement to violence, of course).
It’s as though we are the slaves who built the pyramids of social media, and only the pharaohs of Facebook will ever truly experience their grand majesty.
“If I just keep working hard, moving these stones to the base of the pyramid, one day I’ll be able to own a pyramid myself”.
This mentality is not only foolish, but it belies the true nature of this subversion.
This week is no exception to this lopsided arrangement, with Reddit “quarantining” the largest pro-Trump community on their site, and Twitter now readying a “warning label” of sorts for tweets by those with whom they disagree – President Donald Trump being one such individual.
Twitter plans to place a disclaimer on future tweets from world leaders that break its rules but which Twitter decides are in the “public interest,” the company said in a blog post Thursday.
This policy change could face its most prominent test in President Trump. Trump has repeatedly tested Twitter’s community standards with his regular tirades on the platform and some of the president’s tweets have run afoul of Twitter’s rules.
Twitter () has in the past allowed tweets from Trump and other world leaders to remain online, even though they broke the company’s rules, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed to CNN Business, because it believes the tweets are in the public interest.
Again, we must ask ourselves if being labeled for our ideas is freedom of speech, or just another grey area being implemented by the sultans of social media.
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