Facebook’s Assault on Virginians’ Liberties

State Sen. Amanda Chase

by Emilio Jaksetic

Facebook has placed a 30-day ban on posting by State Senator Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield. Facebook’s ban is an act of naked political censorship and an assault on the liberties of all Virginians.

Chase is a Virginian politician who often expresses controversial views that trigger strong, visceral reactions. Virginians are free to like, dislike, or ignore Chase’s political statements. The merits (or lack thereof) of Chase’s political statements are irrelevant to the threat to liberty posed by Facebook’s censorship of her.

Like her, hate her, or ignore her — don’t let your opinion of Chase blind you to the significance of Facebook’s action against her. If Facebook can unilaterally ban Chase, then it can unilaterally ban any Virginian it dislikes or disagrees with, for whatever reason Facebook chooses.

Freedom of speech and freedom of association are not just for people we like or agree with. They are precious freedoms for all Americans, even those we strongly dislike or disagree with. In a famous dissent in Abrams v. United States (1919), Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. noted the importance of allowing free speech to people we strongly disagree with:

But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas-that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. Every year if not every day we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge. While that experiment is part of our system I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country.

In NAACP v. Alabama (1964), the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the effort to bar the NAACP from operating in the State of Alabama. In that decision, the Supreme Court noted the important relationship of freedom of association and free speech:

It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the `liberty’ assured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces freedom of speech.

No one elected Facebook to unilaterally decide what Virginians are free to post, read or ignore. No one elected Facebook to control and filter free speech and political debate in Virginia. No one elected Facebook to manipulate social media to impose its own political views on Virginians. No one elected Facebook to interfere with Virginians’ constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of association. No one elected Facebook to presume that it knows better than Virginians themselves how to exercise their freedom of speech and their freedom to choose what they read or ignore.

Virginians who ignore Facebook’s assault on free speech and freedom of association risk suffering similar censorship by Facebook in the future.

Virginians who applaud Facebook’s assault on free speech and freedom of association are missing the point that they are giving approval to unilateral censorship by an unelected, unaccountable entity that arbitrarily decides what is appropriate or not for social media.

Facebook is a private entity, not a governmental entity. But the audacity of Facebook’s unilateral censorship poses a serious threat to the liberties of Virginians that will only grow if it continues unchallenged.

Emilio Jaksetic, a retired lawyer, is a Republican in Fairfax County.

There are currently no comments highlighted.

104 responses to “Facebook’s Assault on Virginians’ Liberties

  1. Excuse me but it is the government that cannot act to constrain free speech. Her first amendment rights to not apply to private companies that can set their own rules on what to allow or prohibit. If enough people feel as you, the market place of ideas will provide an alternative to Facebook and Twitter.
    As an aside, do you think that being part of an incitement of insurrection is protected by the First Amendment. If so, what is your legal source?

    • And it already has – many conservatives are now active on alternative social media platforms such as Gab and Parler (two platforms used to help organize the attack on Congress). But it’s silly to say this is a first amendment issue when we all know the first amendment doesn’t cover private companies, which the author, as an attorney, already knows.

      • Apple and Google have banned Parler. (Amazon has suspended it)

        Seeing as those entities control app content we have become even closer to monopolies.

        The 1st Amendment doesn’t cover private companies but if you ban, censor or remove someone or content outside of what is listed in your TOS. You open yourself for suit or arbitration, however given the size of these companies, it isn’t feasible for an individual to do this.

        We’ve long been past the point where Section 230 needs amended or removed all together.

    • Facebook is, indeed, a private site that is not subject to the First Amendment. But then, so was the NFL. But that didn’t stop media trash and politicians from claiming football players had a First Amendment right during their work hours. Which is it?

      Platforms, such as Facebook, have a statutory benefit in federal law. Section 230 of the Communications Act says: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” This is like the long-standing doctrine that common carriers were not liable for the content of their customers’ speech. Common carriers and Internet platforms didn’t operate as publishers, i.e., editing and censoring speech. Of course, if you used your phone for an illegal activity, such as gambling or threatening to put a bomb at City Hall, the cops could get your phone turned off. Ditto if you call your ex-wife 90 times each night.

      But publishers, which make decisions about what’s published or said on the air, can be liable for what they publish or broadcast. If Facebook has content neutral policies, such as prohibiting obscene language or threats to put a bomb in City Hall, they are OK. But if it starts deciding what type of content will be permitted or deciding who can post because of their political beliefs, they sure look like The New York Times or WTOP to me. Section 230 protection should not be available.

      • Neither this Facebook censorship nor NFL players taking a knee in protest are First Amendment issues. I agree. The NFL issue is totally irrelevant to what we’re talking about here, and you’re the first person to have mentioned it. I should ask the person who is always pointing out logical fallacies – is this considered a straw man? Refuting an argument that no one has made?

        • It’s a double standard. When the kneeling occurred, there was significant discussion about the First Amendment rights of the players. A number of posters argued in favor of the players’ First Amendment rights. Just reminding them in a polite way.

          But I guess the world here begins with you. I guess I should put on sack cloth and ashes.

          • I thought that the NFL had the right to ban their players from doing it but they backed off of that when the players pushed back.

            no?

          • Larry, my point was that when the NFL kneeling took place, a large number of people argued that the players were simply exercising their First Amendment rights, while many today are arguing that no First Amendment rights are involved with Internet platforms.

            Your explanation of the situation is, indeed, factually correct.

          • Yes.. but in the former – it was legally true. The teams could impose sanctions on players – legally – and correctly.

            Whereas on the internet, they are private companies that don’t have to and can legally do what the NFL tried to do.

            If enough people do what the players did and rebel, the owners may reconsider doing what they legally can do and back up and allow any/all expressions of speech.

            Difference is the players were exercising one kind of speech – not any/every kind imaginable including lies and hate speech and conspiracy theories and who knows what?

            The question is do most people on those platforms want to allow any/all “free speech” and if they do not and side with FB and Twitter in deciding what speech to outlaw then FB and Twitter are probably going to listen to their customers they actually want to keep.

            Perhpas, not unlike a store that turns away customers who won’t abide by the stores rules… and you can’t really go into a Walmart with a megaphone and blather out your first admentment free speech – hate and conspiracy theories… or even “Repent or God will fix you good”.

            😉

          • Larry, you are missing the point. Section 230 of the Communications Act gives companies like Facebook protection against liability for what is posted on their websites on the theory that, like T-Mobile and Verizon, they have no control over what’s posted. If you post that X has been convicted of torturing animals (something that is false), X cannot sue Facebook for your post. Ditto if you send me a text making the same allegation using your T-Mobile cellphone, X cannot sue T-Mobile.

            But when Facebook starts deciding that certain groups or people cannot post on Facebook because Facebook believes it doesn’t want their posts online, they are no longer like T-Mobile. Facebook is more like WTOP or the Wall Street Journal — publishers that can be sued for what they publish. And in many people’s view, Facebook should not receive Section 230 protection.

            It’s not like Walmart or Costco. They don’t have anything like Section 230 protection.

            Take away Facebook’s and Twitter’s protection against lawsuits for the content they permit on their sites and I’m fine with their censorship. The problem is that we are allowing Facebook and Twitter to have their cake and eat it too. Either don’t engage in censorship based on what you think someone will publish and keep your protection or decide who to allow to publish and loose your protection.

  2. This will be good! Is Jim Bacon free to decide what appears on his blog?

  3. Facebook doesn’t want to make a wedding cake for terrorists.

    • Correct. They want to drive the conversation underground where it can fester without the antiseptic properties of the light of day. They may not like what they see when it reemerges.

      • Uh yep, ’cause said antiseptic has been shown to work so far, right? When treating penicillin resistant staph, you don’t use penicillin derivatives. You may be forced to amputate.

      • Over the longer run, the voices of these folks will not be silenced. Right now, they have and they are moving to their own platforms and at some point those platforms will emerge and be as easily accessed as FB and Twitter are now.

        But then I wonder about the issue of liability (Section 230?), that some want to undo for social media platforms. If that is done, wouldn’t that also affect the newly-formed “free speech” platforms and restrict them also?

      • This all goes back to “Counterspeech Doctrine”, no one wants to practice it, because it would require them to make reason arguments (both sides).

  4. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Spacebook, Tic Tac, and Zipper should ban teens from their platforms during school hours. Actually all hours. Immediate improvement in achievement scores will be the result. The assistant principal will finally have time to do their real job instead of playing social media detective.

  5. Bill raises an important point. Facebook’s action does not amount to censorship, which, by definition, is something only government can do.

    The obvious comeback is that Facebook is a de facto monopoly with extraordinary power to influence the public discourse. It acts like a publisher but is protected from the publisher’s exposure to libel lawsuits. Nothing like Facebook existed when the founding fathers enacted the bill of rights restricting government power to stifle freedom of speech.

    A second point: For some reason, it’s usually right-wing views that get stifled. If you want more right-wing grievance and victimhood, this is how you get it. If you want more Donald Trump, this is how you get it. Do not make Amanda Chase a freedom-of-speech martyr!

    • The problem is now Google is trying to suppress Parler by removing the ability to download it off the most popular app store. Not a random coincidence. They will fight to maintain the monopoly.

      • Apple too. Can they decide what apps will be in their stores?

        Is this a litlle like the public accommodation law for bakers and wedding cakes?

        • Not if they occupy a monopoly or strong oligopoly position. With regard to the App Store and the means for downloading apps onto their iPhones they most certainly own a monopoly or strong oligopoly position.

          The social media platforms are pandering to the Biden Administration with these actions. They know that Democrats rising to greater influence, like Elizabeth Warren, will fight monopolies as threats to consumer choice. She is right to do so. That is anathema to FAANG. They command excess profits in a significant way based on their monopolistic or strong oligopolistic positions.

          They hope that by banning harmless but controversial figures like Amanda Chase they will forestall actions against them by Democrats aligned with the Elizabeth Warren philosophy.

          We’ll see if the new administration is so easily bought.

      • Google doesn’t actually have any successful social media platforms in its monopolistic stable (Google+ was a huge failure). So I’m not sure how kicking social media apps off their app store is anti-competitive, unless you think that they are protecting their actual competitors Facebook and Twitter.

        • Google, or perhaps Alphabet, owns Google Play and YouTube. Google Play is one of two major gatekeepers that can restrict what does, and does not, end up on your mobile phone. Google recently joined Apple in banning Parler from that store. Meanwhile, another monopolist hoping to curry favor – Amazon – banned Parler from its cloud hosting operation (Amazon Web Services).

          I assume I don’t have to go into detail about the level of monopoly held by YouTube on video-based social networking.

        • Google owns and operates the Play Store where Android apps are downloaded.

          • There are alternatives:

            https://vimeo.com/

            There is no real way to quiet the voices longer term, even the ones spouting lies and conspiracy theories.

          • “LarrytheG | January 11, 2021 at 8:09 am |
            There are alternatives:

            https://vimeo.com/

            There is no real way to quiet the voices longer term, even the ones spouting lies and conspiracy theories.”

            Also note, it’s not you who gets to determine what is a “lie and or conspiracy theories”. Did we ban people from discussion JFK conspiracy theories too?
            Citing an obscure app which doesn’t function as intend and is supposed to function like Youtube doesn’t validate your statement.

    • So, Jim Bacon has the right to not publish any/all views on his blog?

      Or is it more like WordPress?

      Can WordPress decide who can run a blog or not based on their criteria?

      Can anyone stand up a site like Facebook?

      why is it a monopoly if others can do their own versions of facebook?

    • “For some reason, it’s usually right-wing views that get stifled.”

      Funny, it’s only gay and lesbian couples who can’t buy wedding cakes.

    • Are you suggesting that Facebook and other social media and big tech companies need more regulation? I think that’s a good idea.

      I am curious what your evidence is that right-wing views are the ones most stifled on Facebook. I have heard that point argued before, but haven’t actually heard what the evidence is backing up the claim.

      Anecdotally, my brother-in-law was blocked from Facebook for “bullying” someone after referring to Donald Trump Jr. as a “dumb [juvenile swear word].” The someone who got him banned had just used the word “libtard” in the post that my brother-in-law responded to, but no one complained about it to Facebook, so the original poster wasn’t “censored.”

    • But publishers are not subject to the First Amendment either. They do not have to publish books they do not agree with.

      • Of course, publishers may refuse to publish books or articles But if they do, they can be liable for slander. Internet platforms, like Facebook, have the Section 230 protection, based on common carrier principles, when they don’t act like a common carrier but, rather, as a publisher. It’s not right.

    • Interesting article in todays’s NYT on this issue. Most legal experts say that Facebook and Twitter have a legal right to ban Trump and Amanda Chase, for that matter. However, they are of the general opinion that it is not a good idea to do so, to some extent for the same reasons that Jim articulates. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/us/first-amendment-free-speech.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

      • Let’s not forget that all media have standards for publication. I doubt that the Times Dispatch would not run a seditious ad.

      • They may have a right to ban Trump but they do not have a right to operate as monopolies. Even if their monopoly status was conferred by hard work and smart decision making. Ask Microsoft or, longer ago, IBM and AT&T.

        Sometimes monopolies are allowed with significant anti-trust regulation. Dominion is an example well described on this blog but so is the National Football League. Other sports leagues as well. There was a 1922 Supreme Court decision that held baseball teams do not engage in interstate commerce. The Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 provide anti-trust exemptions for the NFL around television contracts for NFL games. When the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1995 an Ohio congressman proposed legislation revoking the Sports Broadcasting Act. That proposal was withdrawn when the NFL pledged to start an expansion team in Cleveland.

        Of the FAANG companies – Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google only Netflix, in my opinion, is facing diverse serious competition.

        If Joe Biden really is the campion of the “average American” his DoJ will take action against most of the FAANG companies. That action might end in breakups or consent decrees whereby the companies self-limit their efforts in order to have the anti-trust cases dropped. As I recall IBM agreed to get out of the networking business as part of such a consent decree back in the day.

  6. Emilio. Facebook and Twitter are private entities. They can choose their policies as they wish. The Constitution prevents the GOVERNMENT from restricting free speech. As a conservative, one would think you grasped that,

    • Should they have Section 230 protection? I agree they aren’t subject to the First Amendment, but see the NFL and NBA.

      • The NFL is also a private operation. No?

        If you take away Section 230, does that also affect other social media like Parlar?

        • Yes, any Internet platform that starts deciding who and what gets posted or permitted to post (absent some violation of law – say the bomb threat example) is acting a publisher. And as such should not have Section 230 protection. They should be subject to suit like the Post and other media outlets were for what they published about Nick Sandmann.

          • You being a lawyer – do you think what can be posted or not is the call of the owner of the platform or the government?

            If somone advocates violent overthrow of the government – who should remove that post – the platform owner or the govt directing it?

          • Verizon Wireless is not liable for what you and I say on the phone or in texts because they cannot control it. And as a common carrier, absent a credit problem, for example, it has to sell service to you and to me.

            The argument to protect Facebook was that it functioned like a common carrier. You and I can sign up and Facebook cannot control what we post, at least not in near real time. So in this case, there is good reason to protect them like a common carrier. But when Facebook decides ex ante that TMT or LarrytheG cannot post online because of what Facebook thinks we will post or the subjects in which we are interested, it has become a publisher. It should not be protected as if it were a common carrier.

          • Newspaper and electronic media have standards for publishing. They can reject information that does not meet those standards. As of right now, Facebook is a private company that can accept or reject anything that does not meets its standards. If the law and regulation governing FB changes, then it will have to change.

          • You’re the lawyer in this area, right?

            I sorta wonder if even common carriers have TOS and if I was using the phone to call up people and harass them if Verizon could stop my service for violation of their TOS.

            I note that there are now SPAM blockers on my phone… and Verizon says “Blocked SPAM”.

    • The government also effectively prohibits unregulated monopolies. If there were 5 large App Stores in the world and Apple banned Parler from its App Store this would not be a problem.

  7. Also, there is a big issue with Facebook and Google being Teddy R era trusts but that’s a separate matter.

    • I think unless you can show that they are materially involved in actual efforts to limit competition, that this is about markets and competition.

      It does not appear that there are real obstacles to someone standing up a service like Facebook or Twitter and they have.

      Jim says the Fouding Fathers did not anticipate Facebook.

      Then I ask why some folks insist that the Constitution is not a living document and it’s wrong to “interpret” it’s “intent” and to go by existing text only.

      So which is it? If it’s not in the Constitution, it’s not applicable?

      Pretty sure this is headed to the SCOTUS – who, I’m pretty sure will not say: ” Sorry, it’s not in the Constitution so we can’t decide”.

      By the way a GOOGLE search shows this first:

      About 47,400,000 results (0.40 seconds)

      Parler Free Speech Social Networkparler.com
      Parler is an unbiased social media focused on real user experiences and engagement. Free expression without violence and no censorship. Parler never …
      ‎Parler · ‎Values · ‎Parler Frequently Asked …

      • Not true. Or, not as clear as you present. Does Apple’s use of its own AppStore as the gateway for apps going to iPhones represent a throttle on competition? It sure does.

    • It’s not a separate matter. When a few companies control the market for anything they must be broken up or become subject to intense government oversight.

  8. Okay, all you Conservatives repeat after me… “No Shirt”… c’mon you can do it. Good, now… “No Shoes”… Okay, what comes next? You can say it.

    Constitution check. Identify which of these are violations of rights,
    “No Profanity on the Beach. $25 Fine by order of VBPD”
    “You Must Be 21 to Enter This Store by order of ABC”
    “Masks Required in This Store”
    “No Guns”
    “This Wal-Mart does not sell guns or ammunition”

  9. And the market has already filled in the gaps – many conservatives are now active on alternative social media platforms such as Gab and Parler (two platforms used to help organize the attack on Congress). But it’s silly to say this is a first amendment issue when we all know the first amendment doesn’t cover private companies, which the author, as an attorney, already knows.

    • But the Parler app has now been banned for download by Google’s Google Play and Apple’s App Store. In addition, Amazon Web Services is threatening to remove the software that runs Parler from its web hosting. Three monopoly sized companies are joining forces to thwart freedom of expression. They do so because they claim Parler is a tool used to sometimes incite violence. So is e-mail. So is the phone system.

      If the FAANG companies want to become editors of information, rather than just communicators of information, their legal liability rises. For example, anybody harmed through the posting of libelous commentary on their platforms should be able to sue them as well as the poster.

  10. A number of people correctly point out that Facebook is not the government. Of course Facebook’s actions are not a violation of the First Amendment. Private people and organizations can pose a threat to liberty as well. The “hecklers” veto by non-governmental people and entities is a threat to liberty. Private people or organizations who seek to intimidate, punish, or silence others because of their statements and beliefs can be threats to liberty. Although censorship is usually associated with governmental action, a look at history shows that various non-governmental groups have contributed to silencing and censoring free speech and stifling freedom of association.

    Justice Holmes dissent (which I quoted) makes clear there is a difference between speech we hate and speech that poses an immediate and direct threat of violence. Of course, Facebook can legitimately refuse to post a messages that clearly pose an imminent threat of violence, mayhem, or insurrection. But a blanket ban on a person because Facebook disagrees with a person’s opinions is an excessive and unjustifiable.

    • It’s abreviated as TOS. Keyword, service.

    • I think that your argument was weakened by making a rhetorical error – in your original post, you quoted case law regarding the First Amendment in order to make an argument about something that is unrelated to the First Amendment, and is not, in your view, an issue of legality. A confusing approach to take, hence the need for your subsequent clarification, which is appreciated.

  11. Bacon’s Rebellion is just like Facebook now!
    Slow loading pages with ads that freeze all IO.

  12. Amanda Chase is free to do what cranks trying to get their point of view out have done since time immemorial – fire up the mimeograph and drag a soap box to a street corner.

  13. Articles in WaPo and others say that TRump is considering creating his own social network site.

    It might be interesting… tech folks say it won’t be easy and will take awhle to get as many members as FB.

    We’re moving more and more to two kinds of “media” depending on ones political leanings , no?

    • Perhaps what is needed is a modern day. erosion of the Fairness Doctrine…?

    • You’re onto something important with, “We’re moving more and more to two kinds of “media” depending on ones political leanings , no?”

      My only question is why only two kinds of “media”? And, if social media continues to be an ever increasing source of information and commentary for people and if social media fractures into separate splinters for various political affiliation groups … does this threaten the two-party system? A Congressional district represents about 700,000 people. Could a splintered but powerful social media environment be used to elect a Libertarian Party candidate? A Communist Party candidate? A neo-Nazi candidate? Virginia senators represent about 212,500 Virginians. Virginia delegates each represent about 60,700 Virginians. Two to three state senators and five to ten delegates from an independent party could form a bloc that would be the swing vote for all contentious legislation. As the Republican Party fractures does this open the door to a third party which might be able to control the political offices across 20% of Virginia? Powered by its own social media?

      If third parties could set up localized (geofenced?) social media sites along political district boundaries they could actively campaign among those who self-select enrollment in those sites. They could also kick anybody who disagreed off those sites because those sites would be, after all, private enterprises.

      A good entrepreneurial idea might be “Twitter in a box” … a service that lets people set up social media networks that function like Twitter but can have membership restricted however the operator desires. WordPress for Twitter I guess.

      • So a question.

        Take a subject like Child pornography on FB Twitter or Parlar.

        Could Parlar allow it and FB not or would the govt decide for both?

        • In the abstract, it depends if they are editors or common carriers. Should Verizon somehow endeavor to block conference calls among pedophiles by monitoring all conference calls? Should Zoom? No. They are carriers not editors. If by some coincidence they become aware of illegal activity occurring on their network they should inform authorities.

          • So there are valid govt restrictions on free speech and it’s up to the platforms to report it instead of the govt to find it like they do other crimes?

      • Oops … each Virginia delegate represents about 85,000 Virginians, not the 60,700 I stated.

  14. All those worried about how Facebook might treat their account need to think about paying for the service. Like Amanda Chase they could pay a monthly subscription fee or merely opt to pay by the post. This would establish a contractual relationship and allow for breach of service claims. You can bet that many of those feeling aggrieved would gladly sign up for the service. Is there an opening for BR here?

    • I like the paying and contract idea but most folks don’t realize when they sign up – they actually do agree to a contract with TOS.

      Easy for Twitter and FB to set the terms of the service.

  15. I think all those complaining about the censorship by Twitter, Facebook, etc. should go back and re-read [You carefully read them when you signed up, didn’t you?] the Terms of Service to which you agreed. What you find may surprise you. Bosun

    • heard recently – “We shouldn’t have to read no stupid TOS… to start with”, followed closely by: ” What the heck is TOS”.

      • I read the TOS. Didn’t you? That “first born” thing was bothersome, but then I’ve read The Ransome of Red Chief, so I’m confident that things will work out well.

    • TOS are updated upon the whims of the controller and recently have been becoming more targeted.

      • People who don’t want to hear lies, conspiracy theories and threats of violence, etc will gravitate to platforms who TOS moderate and those that do choose to believe – what others do not , will gravitate to new and evolving platforms that allow more of it.

        Not unlike the way that some FB groups now work. Some are really, really strict, if you violate their rules, out the go. Others are much more tolerant and allow vitriol and personal attacks, etc.

        Choose the platform that meets your needs.

        Having the POTUS gravitate to a platform like Twitter or Parlar – will become an election issue, I predict.

  16. It’s worth noting that without major cloud infrastructure like AWS or Azure, Parler/Gab/whatever will be a sitting duck at the scale required for a large network.

    There’s deplatforming — banning Chase — and then there’s deplatforming squared — kicking apps off stores — and then there’s deplatforming cubed, when you deny platforms access to basic web infrastructure — which is where those social media apps are now.

    Slight non-sequitur, but: Didn’t cyberpunk authors joke about a dystopian future America where TOS were more relevant to everyday life than the Bill of Rights?

    • Yep. Opposed to having basic infrastructure denied whether it be internet, electricity, phone, etc..

      The “market” will gin up alternatives over time and people who want parlar will easily find it and use it.

      I still think the govt will have a hand in it like they do now – for things like child pornography, crime and terrorism, etc.

      • I think that’s an optimistic take on capital markets. Investors don’t want to deal with this crap — as it stands, the Mercer family is the one bankrolling Parler, and even they can’t fund an entire media ecosystem/web infrastructure.

        More likely, it’s the old IBM procurement story they teach MBAs. In the 1970s, no one ever got fired for buying IBM — it’s what everyone else is doing, so it’s a safe bet.

        In the 2020s, no one ever got fired for refusing service to wingnuts. It’s what everyone else is doing, so it’s a safe bet.

        Tech c-suites don’t want to deal with this crap all day — they want to go back to inconspicuously printing money. Government affairs and platform moderation are cost centers.

        If you use a platform in such a way that said platform looks bad in the eyes of your investors/the media/the regulators (all of whom are buddies with each other and are basically in ideological alignment), then yeah, you’re not worth the 20 cents in daily ad revenue that you generate. Even if you’re the base of a major political party, to these market forces, you are Not Worth The Trouble.

        • That’s a pretty interesting comment. Do we think “investors” have political views and vote also?

          So a Corporate entity would have investors who also see folks like white supremacists as a legitimate part of the political landscape but at the same time think it’s bad for business?

          FOX and Newsmax and others have many if not most of the same advertisers as CNN/MSN… no?

          Serious question. I’m not impugning your views. Just trying to better understand.

          • People weren’t allegedly coordinating insurrectionary activity on Fox & Friends. Users of Twitter and the MAGA equivalents probably were.

            Investors are smart folks, or they at least pay smart folks to run due diligence for them. I used to do this. There’s a reason the Mercers are the only big name backing Parler — everyone else saw the risk and ran the hell away. (The Mercers are notoriously right-wing; think the Kochs but without the libertarian streak)

            This is also the reason why Twitter has been deleting thousands of accounts daily since 1/6. Most of Twitter’s big backers brought their funding online before “digital radicalization” meant anything, and now they’re stuck with a volatile asset. I don’t know this *for sure*, but I’d put down good money that their investors are exerting extreme pressure on Dorsey and others to course-correct.

Leave a Reply