Internet Monopoly and Censorship

Now we’re in a state of being where Facebook and Twitter are preventing Freedom of Speech. Even harmless I am being censored. What the heck is going on? Can we not create a parallel internet NOT governed by the Censors. Can we not create an alternate system? Please educate me. Now that we’re all hooked, they are controlling things, whoever they is, and it feels sinister to me.

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From what little I know, Mastadon appears to be the best alternative to a Facebook/Twitter if you want something similar with decent adoption. You can join existing networks or self host your own.

There’s also Riot built on Matrix which is excellent but it’s not a social media replacement.

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Having freedom of speech does not give you a right to someone else’s property. You are not entitled to my microphone or my audience or my lecture hall. Facebook and Twitter belong to other people, not you. They make the rules as to who can say what on their platforms. You have no right to speak on their property. No one does. It doesn’t matter how popular they are. Nobody has a right to usurp your property rights just because your property is popular.

Freedom of speech can only be curtailed by government edict. A private company cannot violate your freedom of speech. They can only prevent you from using their property. The first amendment to the US Constitution begins with “Congress shall make no law…” It does NOT say “private companies must give you a platform.” If Facebook bans you, you are still free to use any of a thousand other methods of expressing yourself in public. Only when congress makes a law are your free speech rights actually violated, because at that point, you could be put in jail (think McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Reform)

If I am hosting a public speaker with my equipment, and you try to take my microphone, and I have you removed from the auditorium as a result, I have not “violated your freedom of speech,” I have protected my right to my property. That is the same thing that Facebook and Twitter are doing. If you don’t like what they are doing and why (and who could blame you - it’s pretty F’d up), the only legal (and moral) recourse you have is to move to Mastodon or Minds.com or Gab.ai, or this forum, or any of a hundred other platforms (or start your own.)

The idea that private companies can violate your “freedom of speech” is such a pervasive and annoying misreading of the Constitution that I just cannot remain silent anymore.

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I generally agree with @Kuoxsr but think it’s little more complicated.

While I don’t think Facebook breaks anyone’s right to free speech, its monopoly when it comes to reach is potentially a problem and I don’t see a good solution (aside from pushing using other platforms).

That being said, as far as I know its rules are pretty standard, so if platform is more or less consistent with enforcing them (and consistency can be difficult, given how big the platform is) it’s hard to require much more from them.

If you really want to avoid censorship, you can always start your own blog or website, hosted on your own infrastructure.

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The case was never made that companies should be forced to obey the 1st amendment.

The way you reacted implies owners of property should be above criticism because Lulu’s point was merely criticism.

The call to action was to find property agreeable to the concept of freedom of speech or create propery that’s agreeable which is at no point at odds with your position.

Oh, feel free to criticize them. They deserve it. Just don’t call it a “freedom of speech” issue, because it isn’t. Calling it a “freedom of speech” issue implies that you think the Constitution should apply to private companies. It doesn’t.

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I’d argue that Freedom of Speech is an ideal first and a law second if i’m understanding the preamble correctly. It’s often used shorthand for discussing a principal that most people share which is no less applicable to an individual as it is to an individual’s company if they’re acting unreasonably against that principal. People don’t have to break a law to be on the wrong side of principal.

I understand the mix up though it didn’t click for me as the whole premise was finding a way to fix the problem with an alternative, not seek a court ruling.

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Where’s the line between censorship and moderation then?

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Man if I had the answer for that!

I think it’s the “reasonableness” test which depends on the size of the platform, the laws of the region, how much time and resources the owners have, ect. It’s best effort given the situation. I don’t think any platform is beholden to a particular speech standard but users should feel ok to to push if it’s reasonable to do so.

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One does not have the “freedom” to use other people’s property. The Constitution does not (and can not) grant anyone this freedom, neither in the bill of rights itself nor the preamble.

I am here to fight against the sloppiness of today’s imprecise language (you called it “shorthand”) which has led people to improperly use the terms “censorship” or “freedom of speech” when they are speaking about things that a private company is doing. These terms have no bearing on the private sector. Only government. Inevitably, when those terms start to get used, people begin talking about using the power of government to fix things. I’ve seen it a hundred times. Even you are still trying to argue for that viewpoint, because you again brought up the Constitution (by referencing the preamble), which has nothing whatsoever to do with private companies. A private individual (or company) cannot violate your freedom of speech in any way. No matter what they do, they cannot and have not done so. Deleting a tweet does not violate your freedom of speech. Banning your channel does not violate your freedom of speech. You can always use someone else’s property or acquire your own. Only when your words are declared illegal can you legitimately claim that your freedom has been violated. Only the government can make it illegal to express your ideas. “Censorship,” “freedom of speech” and “the Constitution” should not be mentioned at all during this conversation. It does not, and can not, apply.

Furthermore, it seems odd that you would try to shame me by patronizingly “reminding” me that this conversation was about alternatives, when I actually gave several examples of alternatives that the OP could try! I’m honestly shocked by your accusation. You either didn’t actually read what I wrote, or you’re deliberately trying to be unkind. I mean seriously, the OP said “Facebook and Twitter are preventing Freedom of Speech,” she used the term “censorship” and even used the term “governed” as if Facebook or Twitter somehow have political power over her or the internet (which they don’t.) She then asked to be “educated,” so that’s what I did. Then I gave examples of alternatives she could try if she didn’t like what Facebook and Twitter were doing. I even AGREED that what they were doing was “F’d up!” Then you came along and wrote about me as if my comment had come out of the blue with no rational reason whatsoever. You actually suggested that I had subverted the topic by not talking about alternative social media when it’s right there in my first post. Unbelievable.

… also *principle. “Principal” is how much you have left to pay on a mortgage (minus the interest)

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I’ve been thinking a lot about how for most of human history, the unit of social organization for humans, was that of a clan, or tribe. When the world is a wild and random and dangerous place (think tigers, lions, imminent land, sea, or air invaders, etc still actually being a threat where you live), then the “clan” or “tribe” is actually a good way to survive.

But when humans have pretty much got nature conquered (we don’t fear tigers and lions any longer, and invaders are not imminent), then the social structure might hopefully shift
to one of a nation state or benevolent-enough, responsible-enough, transparent-enough government where there are actual human rights (think Magna Carta, or the “Age of Enlightenment”). Then the social structure hopefully shifts from tribalism, to a sort of public common good, where people not from the same tribe (but are fellow countrymen/countrywomen/countrypersons) trust each other a lot more, by default.

So common civil society where I live (a first-world country) is thankfully pretty chill, and I can trust the average person I meet on the street. But the internet is not like that!! I say that due to the Wild West nature of the Internet, that tribalism and clan-thinking is still the order of the day!! People would do well to “clan up”, and gather into communities where people have common beliefs and values, then moderate themselves according to those beliefs and values. A sort of clan mentality belongs very nicely here, on a per-community-basis. The clan regulates and defends itself, having consistent values and beliefs within that clan. There are modern, likeable Open Source Forum/Chat servers that are not too hard to set up, cheaply, @Lulu, which are invite-only by nature. I suggest you set up one for the clan you care about most.

But as to wide-open, global forums like Facebook, Twitter, etc? You are going to see a clash of clans there, until the Wild West settles down, which might be a long time from now!! Best to stay away from those wide-open gong shows, if at all possible, IMHO.

So as everyone (who is accustomed to Magna-Carta-like rights IRL) on the Internet scratches their heads, I suggest realizing that there is no Magna Carta yet for the Internet, and linking elbows with your fellow clan members, whomever that might be.

Magna Carta Not Invented Here, on the Internet!!

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Wow, my timing for the advice above to “clan up” (where your smaller community would have any hope of still having decent encryption) is perfect. Check this out:

“The Senate’s New Anti-Encryption Bill Is Even Worse Than EARN IT, and That’s Saying Something”:

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I have a lot of thoughts though I need the weekend to get to them.

Good link.

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Lulu, have you tried to leave Facebook and Twitter, maybe this would help? :slight_smile:
Myself, I never registered for Twitter or Facebook. I do not see a point of even being there and would never consider them being platforms promoting freedom of speech or providing people with any meaningful information or content. There is nothing drawing me into these sites. I do not look for new ‘friends’ (or old ones), I am not interested in other people’s lives and do not plan to share my life online. I am not interested in the latest or greatest news but just try to simplify my life by reading only one newspaper, listening to one radio station, listening a handful of podcasts and reading a few blogs. I read books but do not watch telly. I started to do that after reading Thomas Merton, from the time he was already living in his hermitage in the woods. He called a monk’s life to a ‘low-definition life’. I try to follow his thought and remove myself from the daily accumulation of information, coming all the time from all devices around me. So instead of sitting on Facebook I sit in my garden in the shade of my trees, listening to the visiting birds. Seriously, maybe I am just old-fashioned or stupid person.

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I think that this last few days has really exposed them for their once hidden agenda. Frightening what they can do with the power they amassed. I vote boycott them.

Unfortunately, when it comes to Political Correctness of language and the like, freedom of speech is seriously affecting the normal operations of businesses. A business no longer can choose who they hire, for example, nor who they fire. Political correctness has destroyed freedom of speech in Canada, where I live.

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I’m going to check out Mastadon. I like the idea of hosting own. Thanks for the suggestions. Somebody sent me also a link to Parler .

Yes, indeed I left Facebook. They were doing something to my account that crashed my computer all the time, and slowed down my pages so I couldn’t switch links without rebooting the program, and causing my resources to race. After my date and time were changed during one of these episodes, it occurred to me that I was actually hacked. Then I deleted them. and boycott them. I was just trying to create a safe place for seniors to have a chat room that would work for their lack of technology. It made shivers go up and down my spine to use Facebook. But people are so addicted to that one platform.

P.S. Lovely to imagine you in a Trappist garden setting. Covid isolation is devastating for the seniors I work with, so we reached into them with Tablets and Cell phones. Waiting to pull them out into the gardens again. They are not going to figure out the tablets though. Modern tv’s with remote clickers are a huge enough obstacle. Somebody could make a HUGE dollar for tv’s for seniors, with ONE off and on button, and a manual tuning dial on the set. Or a remote clicker with only a manual dial and power button. The old TV’s has such nice art deco cabinets.