12 votes

Why is Big Tech policing speech? Because the government isn't: Deplatforming President Trump showed that the First Amendment is broken - but not in the way his supporters think.

2 comments

  1. spit-evil-olive-tips
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    Fadi Quran, a campaign director for the global human rights group Avaaz, told me he, too, found the precedent worrying. “Although the steps may have been necessary to protect American lives against violence,” he said, “they are a reminder of the power big tech has over our information infrastructure. This infrastructure should be governed by deliberative democratic processes.”

    But what would those democratic processes be? Americans have a deep and abiding suspicion of letting the state regulate speech. At the moment, tech companies are filling the vacuum created by that fear. But do we really want to trust a handful of chief executives with policing spaces that have become essential parts of democratic discourse? We are uncomfortable with government doing it; we are uncomfortable with Silicon Valley doing it. But we are also uncomfortable with nobody doing it at all. This is a hard place to be — or, perhaps, two rocks and a hard place.

    7 votes
  2. skybrian
    Link
    It might be worth thinking about how this became big tech's job. At one time, in the early days of the Internet, there was pressure on ISP's to block porn. I also remember people worrying about...

    It might be worth thinking about how this became big tech's job. At one time, in the early days of the Internet, there was pressure on ISP's to block porn. I also remember people worrying about botnets and what they could do when broadband become widespread. Should the ISP cut you off if your computer gets recruited as part of a botnet to do denial-of-service attacks and the like? (Of course, the ISP's customers have no idea, but should they be held responsible?)

    Now there I don't see much pressure on ISP's to block anything in particular. This is probably due to the success of the HTTPS-everywhere movement? Maybe net neutrality didn't win, legally, but it won in practice?

    I would guess the ISP's are happy to stay out of this kind of content moderation.

    4 votes