Nov 252018

“…We need to have a full conversation about what is the right regulation (of the Internet), not whether it should be or shouldn’t be,” testified Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg before the April 18 Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees. That ‘conversation’ concerns freedom of speech and the right to express that speech using social media.

Notes Danielle to Robert in her introduction to their own ‘conversation’ on the ‘right regulation,’ there was a “cascade of ‘de-platforming’ that accelerated over the months after that hearing.”

“The largest platforms are primarily controlled by the Left,” acknowledges Robert, while however also acknowledging that there is no obligation on their part to provide anyone with guaranteed service.

‘Shadow banning,’ ‘de-monetization,’ suspensions, account deletions, and other restrictions justified on ‘terms of service violations’ have become an increasing phenomenon that has ironically encouraged voices on the right – those being unjustly targeted most – to call for anti-trust legislation curbing the right of social media providers to take such actions.

This is mis-directed, particularly given Zuckerberg’s own admission at the hearings that regulating the Internet would handicap new competition while helping entrench his own dominance of social media.

At issue is the very freedom of the Internet itself – one that certainly includes Zuckerberg’s freedom to run his companies as he desires. If the Zuckerberg plan is to make his platforms irrelevant to ‘full conversations,’ that’s his business. We already know that for those on the Left, ‘full conversations’ do not include voices from the Right.

We also know that in order to have any ‘full conversation’ about anything, all sides must be able to participate. The solution is not to be found in ‘regulating’ the Internet, but in keeping it free. Only then can the necessary myriad of alternative competitors arise to offer both sides – Left and Right – free, open, shared and ‘full conversation’ Internet platforms.

“Be careful what you wish for,” warns the old saying; “You just might get your wish.” We can imagine how Zuckerberg must smile when he hears ‘right wing’ voices calling for anti-trust laws, laws he knows will work in his favor, and against those who are Just Right.

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