Why I May Not Return…

To Facebook or Twitter once my sabbatical is ended.

It’s the usual: the dumpster fires of anger and vitriol. But that’s not all. It’s also how the two companies are actively and proudly silencing certain voices. I don’t want to participate in companies that have no respect for opinions they disagree with.

One could argue, “But those voices foment hatred and violence.”

Perhaps they do, but the consequences of silencing them are dire. You may think I’m over-exaggerating, but I’m not, and for several reasons:

1. By silencing those voices, we give them more reason to remain hateful and angry, and will bring others to their side.

2. When giving hateful evil opinions a forum, we force them into the light. Evil does not like light; it prefers to grow in the dark. Ignorance is never the best way to fight that evil. By letting them speak, others have the freedom to counter and show just how evil those opinions are.

3. It gives those companies too much power over others and what people can or can’t say. What’s an “appropriate” opinion today will be hateful or even illegal tomorrow (especially since these companies tend to bow to governments—basically doing their dirty work for them).

One could also argue, “But what if those voices encourage others to kill and/or destroy?” That would be a call to action and is not legally covered by free speech. For instance, if I post that a certain someone should be harmed/killed, that’s a direct threat and is a crime.

Humorous aside: People like to use the cliche: “You can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre,” when in fact you can. If the theatre is on fire…

I hope you don’t mind me adding a little brevity there…

Another argument people make is these social media platforms have every right to determine content since they’re private companies. That’s where things get a bit murky. Nor will I give a strong opinion one way or another. I will, however, say this: The basic answer to that statement is, yes, they do. As a private company, they have a right to say who or who can’t use their platform. Just like a store has the right to tell people they can or can’t enter their store (which is a whole other wily subject). That said, they are also governed by certain laws that may make that untrue. Not being a lawyer or having read the laws in question, I can’t say for certain one way or another. I’ll let the courts or Congress decide on that one.

And since I believe social media companies have a right to determine who can or can’t use their products, I have a right to say, “thanks but no thanks.” I’ll find another who believes Internet platforms are no different than a physical public square, and all voices—no matter how politically incorrect, uncomfortable, and even evil—have a right to speak.

To quoth Thomas Jefferson: “The press, confined to truth, needs no other legal restraint; the public judgment will correct false reasonings and opinions, on a full hearing of all parties; and no other definite line can be drawn between the inestimable liberty of the press and its demoralizing licentiousness.”

In short, whether by government or private company, for any of them to decide what’s “good” or “bad” speech, they’re saying you don’t have the ability to decide what to believe or know, so they must decide for you. It’s insulting at the very least, and I refuse to be insulted.

Oh, and a little more brevity! The new Facebook company logo (Meta). When I first saw it, I thought, “It looks like a droopy infinity symbol.” I thought that was rather witty (if I say so myself), until I read someone else’s take: “Why does their logo look like a pair of saggy boobs?”

I can no longer look at that logo without giggling. Yeah, I’m a child.

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