Political solutions and freedom of speech

Recently several controversial commentators have been barred from social media or from funding platforms, e.g. – Alex Jones and Robert Spencer. Some people are now claiming that big tech has a monopoly on communication and the government should regulate them.

The conduct of social media and funding platforms is a serious problem and it has been a serious problem for a while. Last year Patreon decided to add guidelines against adult content. I could probably find other examples. In general it looks to me like platforms are worried about satisfying an increasingly narrow standard of respectability. This standard is slanted somewhat to the left in politics because the left currently totally dominates political and moral discussions. This standard is also opposed to adult content cuz people think sex is yucky.

Respectability is a vague standard so attempting to enforce it results in decisions that look inconsistent. The standard is vague enough that it’s easy to fool yourself that your banning decisions are consistent with it even if you are biased. Many people don’t care about this issue or see it as a feature of the respectability standard rather than a bug. Also, there are a lot of posts on social media, so the idea that a platform can actually screen them according to any complicated standard is silly.

The idea that the government will come in and fix social media or payment platforms to make them behave fairly is dumb. Most government officials are ordinary people who have their own vague standards of respectability and will go along with those standards. I think it also possible that behind the scenes pressure from government is one reason for the problems with these platforms. If that is the case, then asking the government to regulate those platforms is like giving the fox the key to the hen house.

The only solution to the current problems with social media and payment platforms is to change their standards or start your own platform with better standards. What standards should you adopt? People should be able to say anything short of incitement to violence, or engaging other criminal activity like child pr0n. This is a clear and objective standard that can be enforced consistently.

There should be ways for people to tag content so that people can seek a particular topic out or avoid it. Banning isn’t necessary for users to avoid seeing content they dislike.

It would be nice if social media had decent threading and other facilities that enable serious discussion rather than attacking it. Facebook and Twitter are both terrible for serious discussion.

About conjecturesandrefutations
My name is Alan Forrester. I am interested in science and philosophy: especially David Deutsch, Ayn Rand, Karl Popper and William Godwin.

2 Responses to Political solutions and freedom of speech

  1. Guilherme says:

    >I think it also possible that behind the scenes pressure from government is one reason for the problems with these platforms.

    Why do you think that? Pressure with what intentions?

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