Censorship / Right to Free Speech

Thought I’d start a new thread, since I’m off on a bit of tangent here.

I don’t really understand the whole concept of “free speech” and how it comes into play with the discussion about Defining “The Politcal”. I understand that taking something down is in fact censorship, but that’s only relevant if all people have a right to free speech, which is why I’m asking about free speech.

If someone comes into my house and says stuff I’m not comfortable with, for whatever reason, am I not entitled to kick them out? Is this site different than say my house? What makes it different?

Presumably people feel this site is the equivalent of a public place, which is why anyone gets upset about their free speech rights being violated. But, with some exceptions, you don’t pay for this site. You don’t bear the burden of any legal requirements this site causes to the owner. Why is there an expectation that a privately owned website be considered a public space?

(To be completely fair, my own views are in fact that some websites are public spaces. I have great concerns about the censorship happening on YouTube right now. I do understand this issue is complicated and am legitimately looking for alternate viewpoints to help me think it through).

First of all: The US fist amendment and the guarantee of “free speech”, which is one of the fundamental rights in almost all western democracies, only refers to the government or state:

I.e. the state must not restrict poeple’s freedom of speech (within certain, very well defined limits, like if your ‘free speech’ actually violates the rights of another person).

It does not grant free speech anywhere and anytime. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about, @MonsterMash62. In my living room, it’s my prerogative to stop anyone from saying anything. That’s not censorship, it’s exacting my right to exert sovereignty over my own property.

It’s the same with this website. It’s privately held any it’s my right to define what I’ll allow on it and what not.

The thing about Facebook and Twitter is, that they are a huge part of public life. Still, they have their own rules, which don’t necessarily agree with the law. If they delete something, you cannot force them to publish it, even if you sue them. Same thing, it’s a “private” website, which is not controlled by a government.

So Facebook and Twitter have a lot of power. They control what’s ok and what is not. The recent Tumblr scandal is a good example. Also that neither Google nor Apple would allow any sexual apps on their platforms - even though they could enforce an age limit technically. In their “opinions” it’s smut and they don’t want that on their platforms. But since when is a company allowed to tell me, what kind of smut I want to use on my devices?

I guess there have to be new laws for this. Otherwise private companies, who control that much of our public life, will actually take over many parts of the law and democracy will become irrelevant.

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I definitely think there need to be new laws, but that will take years. Years to make it through courts to come up with something definitive and useful.

I personally think Twitter/YouTube/Facebook should be blocking anything that’s anti-vaxxer, because that’s misinformation that can and has already gotten people killed. But what makes me ok with that? Because it’s a health issue? What about different political views? I agree with that as long as things that get blocked are things I disagree with. But that’s not fair.

Do things have to be fair?

Still complicated :slight_smile:

You’re absolutely correct, @martin_gss that the law refers only to the government. The problem (already recognized in laws) is that many people apply that free speech idea to numerous other contexts, so that it has created the expectation of free speech. What nearly everyone forgets is that, although one may have the right to “free speech,” in no way does that mean there won’t be repercussions from such speech.

This is your site and you have absolutely the right to regulate it as you see fit.

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Actually, most of the really “problematic” things (hate, call for violence etc.) on FB, Twitter & Co. are clearly illegal. It’s just a matter of actually banning the stuff.

When it’s about distributing non-sense, conspiracy theories etc… well. I think unless FB wants to put on a rule that they only allow to post anything they deem “true”, there’s no way to get rid of that. And that’s why I think we have to live with it.

It’s a matter of education, to teach children how to check plausibility. But there will be no way to get rid of stupidity I’m afraid.

I recently watched this docu-flic on Netflix about Flat Earthers (“Behind the Curve”). I’m sure it’s absolutely true what they say: Even if the people there actually came to the conclusion that they’re were wrong all along with their Flat-Earth theory (since they disproved it themselves), they’d never admit it. They’d lose everything in their life, friends, community, standing, respect. So they will go on. And same is true for any other believe, religious, political etc. Only very few people will ever be able to completely revise their conception of reality.

ok also gonna mention here like, even in terms of the government, there are exceptions to free speech. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exceptions
and while what may or may not fall under these protections is of course something that will probably always be up for debate; the important thing here is the very obvious conclusion that it is not magic. What always bother me about these debates is everyone acts like it’s some grand commentary on censorship, this isn’t that. Defining the political was martin banning troll stories from a porn site. This move will have no impact on censorship across the nation. Going the YouTube scenario, Crowder (i’m just gonna name names here because dancing around the specifics is pointless) clearly violated YouTube’s code of conduct. Not to mention Carlos Maza made it very clear he was only asking for the ban based on harassment reasons. YouTube made it into a censorship argument as a distraction. They legally can and should have banned Crowder for breaking harassment policies. The important thing to remember is that these are NOT public spaces. YouTube is a privately owned company, owned by Google LLC which is owned Alphabet Inc. Google is also not a public space. They can censor what they want because it’s their company. The argument there shouldn’t be about censorship it should be about how this large corporation with a huge impact on society and the world is handling that responsibility. And also a conversation i can’t believe i’m having on a gay porn site.

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Thanks. This whole drama had escaped my attention. I have more or less given up on expecting the “new media” to develop any kind of decency.

What it actually made bitterly obvious is, that hate, prejudice and fascism (in it’s original meaning) is still deeply rooted in our society. There are so many people consciously using YouTube et al to trigger those things in a broad audience, which just covered it behind a thin layer of decency the last decades, because it was socially shammed. But now, since you can show your hate openly and without any concern of personal backlash, the whole dirty shit in the head of man becomes quite obvious again.

Actually, regardless how extreme and perverse your sexual desires might be, they will never come close to the shit those brains are excreting.

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