[February 3, 2021] Honestly, I am surprised this is even a topic of conversation. There is a movement today by Big Tech – like Google, Instagram, and Twitter – to crush free speech.1 It’s a bad idea, a bad decision on their part, and the best action they can take – in the moral sense – is to stop. For absolute clarity, I am totally opposed to their censorship of speech.
In the U.S., Big Tech companies rely on section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act to justify their censorship. Their reasoning they give is that remarks using big tech platforms could spark violence. Late last year, after the presidential election, they permanently suspend U.S. President Donald Trump, other high-profile members of the Republican Party, and well-known conservative voices.2
Some will claim this is a political issue where large tech companies are banning conservative speech they disagree with and big tech will act within their legal rights to censor.3 There is merit to these views, and I share their sentiments but not their methods. We should remember that the Nazi Party and Communist Party historically banned speech that countered the state narrative. All of their censorship was “legal.” Banning speech was and remains the method of tyrants.
I recently ran my own test on my Leadership Blog’s Facebook page. I had forgotten to take it down but thought to myself that it afforded me an opportunity that I simply could not pass up. I posted several slogans such as “stop the steal,” “all lives matter,” and “guns save lives.” All were taken down within 30 minutes, and yet I received no warning or comment. My posts were simply deleted.
America was built upon the principle of free speech, not on our agreement of speech or the potential of violence of speech or the government’s view of speech. It should surprise no one that several foundational truths are encapsulated in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Big Tech has a bad idea (some speech is dangerous) and has made a bad decision (censorship). They have become tyrants of today’s world. There will be a day in a few years when we all look back and say that Big Tech made terrible mistakes and ask ourselves how they could be so stupid. Well, yep, they are stupid, but they are also dangerous and we have done nothing.
- Twitter: a Lesson in Failed Leadership | (theleadermaker.com). This has been going on for several years.
- Reading and listening to his speeches, I found no references that could warrant such action. I challenge anyone to do so.
- Several scholars argue that they act outside their legal bounds and can be subject to lawsuits from private individuals and public entities.