Facebook

Both the Left and the Right Are Exaggerating the Threat Posed by Facebook

Facebook can't kill, jail, or tax you. It can only stop you from posting on Facebook.

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Charged with determining whether Facebook erred in suspending former President Trump following the January 6 Capitol riots, the Facebook Oversight Board—which exists solely for the purpose of taking difficult content moderation decisions out of Mark Zuckerberg's hands—essentially shrugged and returned the decision to Facebook. The board did rule, however, that the indefinite suspension was inconsistent with the the company's policies, and Facebook should revisit the matter in the next six months.

A conceivable outcome of this ruling is that Facebook will eventually decide, sometime later this year, that it has little choice but to un-ban Trump. Indeed, the board criticized Facebook for "applying a vague, standardless penalty." One might have expected tech-skeptical conservatives to be somewhat pleased with this ruling, since it was ultimately a rebuke of Facebook, and one that hints at the potential return of Trump.

Instead, the right had a meltdown.

"Twitter and Facebook are Fascist companies," tweeted (yes, tweeted) Candace Owens. "We should all begin slowly migrating away from their platforms."

Rachel Bovard of the Conservative Partnership Institute opined that the actual issue was Facebook's "hegemonic control over global political speech, reinforced today by the platform anointing itself with the moral authority to memory hole future world leaders at their own discretion."

Facebook has neither hegemonic control over political speech nor memory-hole powers—indeed, the former president recently engaged in political speech with Owens, possibly offering her the veep slot if he runs again—and yet many conservatives argue that the Facebook Oversight Board's decision was not merely wrong but evidence that Facebook's powers supersede the U.S. government's.

"A multi-national corporation just assumed a supranational level of sovereignty and is LARPing as a government," fretted Will Upton, a conservative public relations specialist formerly with the U.S. Treasury.

J.D. Vance, a likely Republican candidate for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat in 2022, upped the hysteria even further: "The Facebook oversight board has more power than the United Nations," he said.

Facebook is indeed a powerful and influential company, but these people all need a reality check. The social media site does not wield nearly as much power as actual governments. Facebook doesn't drop bombs on its enemies or send troops to bust down their doors and kill them. Facebook can't put people in jail, or confiscate their money, or forbid them from gathering in groups, or force children as young as three to wear masks while they play sports outside. The only thing Facebook can do is stop people from posting on Facebook.

The right's escalation of Facebook moderation policies to an extinction-level threat is extremely unhelpful, as it obscures some legitimate concerns about how the media bullies the company into making bad calls, as well as issues with the various hypocrisies—often unintentional—produced by uneven enforcement. But to hear conservatives tell it, we are supposed to believe that Facebook's existence has singlehandedly ended the American experiment in representative democracy.

"Allowing near-trillion dollar companies like Facebook to act as political partisans, censoring one side while amplifying the other, is tantamount to election interference and represents an existential threat to our democracy," asserted Jon Schweppe of the American Principles Project in a characteristic post on this subject. "It simply cannot be allowed to go on. We all know what happened in 2020. By censoring advertisements, banning conservative influencers, and falsely fact-checking verifiably true content, Facebook and other social media companies swung the election to Joe Biden."

What's especially telling about this sort of panic is that it perfectly mirrors liberals' own ongoing freakout about Facebook. Indeed, with only minor changes to Schweppe's statement, it would be identical to something Rachel Maddow or Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) might say: We all know what happened in 2016. By allowing Russian-backed influence operations to spread viral disinformation, Facebook and other social media companies swung the election to Donald Trump.

Forget the millions of dollars the campaigns spent on their own advertising on television, the radio, in print, and elsewhere: A handful of misleading Facebook posts and/or bad moderation calls were the decisive factors. Clearly.

While liberals and conservatives can't agree on which side is supposedly receiving an unfair advantage from social media, they increasingly agree on the solution: break up Big Tech. Progressives like this approach because punishing big corporations for sheer bigness is a time-honored liberal tradition, and conservatives like this approach because it will make Mark Zuckerberg rue the day he crossed them. Why anyone should expect Facebook's smaller successor companies to have superior moderation policies is never explained.

NEXT: A 5th Federal Court Has Struck Down the CDC's Eviction Ban

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  1. Glad to hear it down with social media forever.

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    2. I’ve never had a Facebook (or any other social media for that matter) account, and I don’t think I ever will. Yet the sunrise was in the east again this morning, and life goes on. Imagine that.

  2. What a shit article. As usual.

    1. The only notable finding was how Robby is somehow able to both lick boot and suck Zuck’s dick at the same time. Unprecedented.

      1. Respecting the property rights of others… Is that dick-sucking, boot-licking, or both, in the authoritarian mind?

        1. As long as Facebook has to bake me a cake, it’s all cool.

        2. Right, and if the company that supplies power to your home, the two companies that provide internet services refused you service or Verizon said no calls from your phone number will be completed to their customers because you’re an ass… meh, respect private property rights. Cuz principles. ¯\_( ͡❛ ͜ʖ ͡❛)_/¯

          I know… but that’s different [yet not a distinction regarding “private property rights”]

    2. I wonder…President Biden announced while the Chauvin jury was locked in deliberation that there was only one possible outcome. There looks to be a possible mistrial, with Maxine Waters’ statements before the jury was sequestered and one juror obviously lying about his views.
      If the verdict is put aside for a new trial, is Biden responsible for the likely riots? He said things much like Trump, has praised protesters, and excused violence as minor.
      I doubt the issue will even be raised by Facebook.

    3. It’s intellectually dishonest for Robby to suggest that the power to drop bombs, incarcerate and seize assets is the gold standard by which any and all powers anywhere will be judged and therefore minimalized. These are unique powers to be sure, but there are many other powers that certain industries such as FB have that could equally be said by the same standard that therefore government powers are no big deal, which would be equally dishonest.

      Government doesn’t have the power to limit your free speech and your connection with like-minded people. Government has no power to stand in the way of political leaders and those who would follow. We could go on and on but the point has been made.

  3. tweeted (yes, tweeted) Candace Owens. “We should all begin slowly migrating away from their platforms.”

    Go ahead and migrate away, Candy. Wingnut.com wants your insane drivel on their site.

    1. You don’t own that domain?

      1. I’m pretty sure SPB2 has madman trademarked too, so you may want to reconsider your nick.

  4. “Allowing near-trillion dollar companies like Facebook to act as political partisans, censoring one side while amplifying the other, is tantamount to election interference and represents an existential threat to our democracy,”

    Wingnuts don’t think Facebook is being “fair”.

    Perhaps they want the feds to impose something like a “fairness” doctrine to make sure their bullshit gets the same audience as progressive bullshit does.

    1. No, they don’t think they are following their own Terms of Service and arbitrarily enforcing contract terms based on viewpoints.

    2. “progressive bullshit”

      I cannot think of any recent examples of “progressive bullshit.” On the contrary, everything progressives have insisted over the past 5 years — Russia hacked the 2016 election, Drumpf is a Russian intelligence asset and Mueller will prove it, Drumpf was the first American President to put kids in cages, Cuomo did a fantastic job with coronavirus, transwomen have absolutely no athletic advantage over ciswomen — has been proved correct.

      Indeed, while I disagree with progressives on the minimum wage, I must admit they absolutely have earned their reputation as the “reality-based community.”

      1. No.

        Examples of progressive bullshit:

        “Healthcare is a human right”
        “We can afford all single payer/other pet programs if we just taxed the 1% their fair share”
        “Common sense gun regulation will end mass shootings”
        “Poor people are starving/going without healthcare in the USA”
        “Racism is the biggest problem in the USA”
        “Islam deserves respect because all religions are, like, equal”

        I could go on.

        All the above statements by progressives are demonstrably false.

        1. OBL, you’re pretty good on your sarcasm, but let’s be honest, it’s hard to mock these days because so many people are so over the top.

          You need to be more explicit that you aren’t being serious. While a “/sarc” tag on the end might be a bit on the nose and beneath your dignity, it’s better than having people believe you actually mean what you say.

          1. And how do you know OBL doesn’t mean/believe what he says?

            1. Totality of his posts, and some of the specific, absurd examples he just gave (transwomen have a huge advantage over natural born women, as is divined by the secret art of counting).

              However, at least two people have been convinced that he was serious, thus my initial posts.

        2. Other than the statement about poor people going without health care, those are all entirely subjective statements. I’m sure you could go on, but would you ever get around to making a second assertion that’s connected in any way to an objectively provable/disprovable statement?

          Maybe the thing that’s really “bullshit” about progressive dogma is that it’s so deeply based on the idea that there’s no meaningful distinction between objective and subjective concepts?

          1. “Maybe the thing that’s really “bullshit” about progressive dogma is that it’s so deeply based on the idea that there’s no meaningful distinction between objective and subjective concepts?”

            As Biden so succinctly said it, “we choose truth over facts”. And all the bobbleheads nod.

    3. What happens if the Russian hackers get control of Fecesbook?

  5. One wants an open platform for all voices. One wants to shut down the voices of others.

    Totes the same.

    1. Is it considered the same? Because it seems to be the side in favor of an open forum that seems to have their knickers in a twist more.

      1. No it isnt. Go look at the number of proposals from the democrat side. They are just as numerous in demands for complete censorship. California democrats had an open line to these companies for fucks sake.

      2. When the “open dialogue” side is being shutdown, it is reasonable they would feel that way.

  6. I’ve been censored on Facebook several times but I don’t blame them I blame the users. Even people in my own timeline pushed for censorship on various issues. It’s hypocritical to blame Facebook when you refuse to confront your own ‘friends’.

    I’ve been censored on most social media platforms. I was even banned right here on Reason for a few years. Companies are well within their rights to do so. It’s up to the users to fight for each other. If you respond, “Well obviously you’re here so you couldn’t have been banned so stop lying” then you’re part of the problem and government interference will only exacerbate it. (As you well know.)

    Anyway, great article. Thank you Reason for understanding the right to free speech and not (yet) banning me again today!

    1. I think you’re going to be my first mute.

      1. Mine too.

        Astroturfers aren’t as amusing to mock as the fifty-centers and the shills.

        1. He’s got his own website and appears unstable. You might miss out on the next Hihn if you mute him.

          1. I still miss the first Hihn. moar bold.

      2. How long has this feature been active? I haven’t been around much. I know who my first mute will be (not you, Unicorn, you all right).

        1. “…I haven’t been around much…”

          How can we miss you if you won’t stay away?

    2. First of all, you need better friends.

      Second of all, the logical response to “WAAAH! I DON’T LIKE WHAT THIS PERSON SAID! IT HURTS MY FEEWINGS!” is for FB to just block both parties from each other. Not to decide up to 11 years later (I have a screenshot from said person) that because someone is offended, someone else gets a 30 day ban for a comment that a certain politician is a “whore.”

      Actually, the logical response is factory to build helicopters to throw leftists from until the problem goes away permanently. But saying so hurts feewings.

    3. Big Tech is doing the bidding of the Deep State and intelligence apparatus, and operating in such a way that even dumbass libertarians are for it because they are “private companies” – it’s just a method for doing an end-around on the constitution – but the only surprise is if people are surprised.

      Big Tech and the intel agencies are connected at the hip working to shovel as much data to the gummint as they can.

  7. I don’t use social media. I have a life.

    1. Racist!

    2. Luddite! The telegraph is the work of the devil!

      1. Not entirely. Those poles made good backscratchers for the buffalo while they were around.

  8. Facebook is ostensibly where people communicate.

    Free speech is an inalienable right which means that it cannot be give or taken away by any legal contract. You can’t sell your rights and Facebook can’t buy them.

    1. CONGRESS WILL PASS NO LAW…

      Speak where they’ll have you.

      1. It gets interesting when the government starts using private contractors to enact censorship or surveillance.

        1. The argument there may be that the government is violating your 1A rights.

      2. An inalienable right belongs to the possessor.

        The word means that rights cannot be given or taken away from the possessor.

        Who wants to is irrelevant to the meaning of the word inalienable.

        1. Can we change inalienable to indocumentable?

          1. Not without changing the meaning of the constitution.

            Is that what you’re suggesting?

            1. Rob, where is the word “inalienable” appear in the constitution?

              1. Again, as you seem to lack comprehension, the Declaration of Independence was referring to the inalienable rights enumerated in the constitution.

        2. facebook could just as easily argue that they a possessor of the inalienable right(s) of which you speak.

          1. Facebook has chosen the business of interpersonal communication.

            People have the inalienable right to free speech while communicating.

            If Facebook doesn’t like the business of free speech they should have chosen a different business than interpersonal communication.

            1. “People have the inalienable right to free speech while communicating.”

              Brandenburg decision.

              1. Irrelevant.

            2. Bake my free speech!

              I wonder where the Facebook pooh-bahs come down on the gay cake controversy…

            3. “Facebook has chosen the business of interpersonal communication.”

              And since Facebook has unalienable rights, that doesn’t mean shit.
              You’re pretty stupid, along with being a Nazi.

        3. And it isn’t being alienated. You can’t post on Faceplant? Too bad. Can’t walk into my home at 2AM and spout stormfag propaganda? Again, too bad.

          You have a right to speak. You don’t have a right to a forum.

          1. An inalienable right is taken by the possessor everywhere they go. It can’t be bought or sold.

            1. Wrong. A right does not impose an obligation on another. You have a right to speak. Nobody has an obligation to carry your words. Facebook has not bought your right. Facebook has not sold your right.

              Do you have the right to walk into someone’s home at 2AM uninvited because you want them to hear what you have to say? If they don’t let you, have your rights been alienated? NO.

              1. If I have been invited to enter private property I carry my rights with me and the property owner is required to respect them.

                Facebook invites people to communicate and they must therefore respect 1a.

                1. No, they don’t have to. 1A is a restriction on the government, not on private entities. It’s right there in the first 5 words. You don’t even need to “scientifically prove” it.

                  1. The word INALIENABLE refers to the POSSESSOR.

                    Whoever wants to violate them is irrelevant.

                    For you to deny this is to deny the meaning of the constitution.

                    The line you’re referring to “ CONGRESS WILL PASS NO LAW…” is simply in addition to the inalienable rights people have. Both apply, get it?

                    1. Just for comprehensiveness, I will ask again; where is the word “inalienable” in the Constitution?

                  2. Again, as you seem to lack comprehension, the Declaration of Independence was referring to the inalienable rights enumerated in the constitution.

                2. Property owner can also ask you to leave. And, if you refuse to do so, and continue spouting your rhetoric, you are criminally trespassing.

                  1. The owners of a private business cannot violate your inalienable rights.

                    Try to throw people out because they’re black and see how the Supreme Court rules.

        4. You don’t have a right to a platform, dingbat.

          1. I carry my inalienable rights wherever I go. They cannot be bought or sold.

            When I am invited to “a platform” I CAN’T leave my rights, including 1a. behind.

            Facebook is required to respect this.

            1. If you walk into a business and start saying things the owners do not like the owners can ask you to leave. Your free speech rights do not supersede the owners rights.

              1. Unless ‘you’ posses the characteristics of a group the federal government has chosen to protect.
                For instance, you can throw out a honkey for say bad things, but you cannot throw out a black, or a gay, or a trans, or any of a thousand groups, even if they say the same thing as the honkey.

                1. That’s not true, you can throw anyone in a protected group out for saying the “same bad things” as the “honkey.”

              2. Stormfag lost the argument like usual, but Stormfag will never shut up, and never stop telling lies. Such as, for example, the Holocaust never happened! For real! That is Stormfag’s “thing”!

              3. The owners of a private business cannot violate your inalienable rights.

                Try to throw people out because they’re black and see how the Supreme Court rules.

                1. Being black is a state of being. Spouting bullshit about the Holocaust never having taken place, is a free-will choice.

                  I host guests at my house to sell Girl Scout cookies, warning each guest that if they talk ANY politics (my house, not the reason for the party), I will ask them to leave. Stormfag shows up, and promptly starts yelling NAZI crap and Hitler-loving propaganda. I kick Stormfag out of my house.

                  Next thing you know, Stormfag goes running and crying to Government Almighty, to come and punish me! Well, yeah, that’s what I’d expect out of Stormfag, because that’s the kind of asshole that Stormfag is!

        5. Soooo….Did Jews, Slavs, Romani (“Gypsies,”) Poles, Homosexuals, “asocial types,” the handicapped, the mentally infirm, business leaders, labor leaders, political opponents, and others whom the Nazis imprisoned, tortured, and massacred also have these inalienable rights?

          1. Those rights were inalienable… Until they were not! But Stormfag denies that ANY of this happened!

    2. Misek’s free speech is his inalienable right.

      So is mine.

      Mute User [click]

      1. You can’t refute what I say so you choose the bigotry button.

  9. The fact that Facebook doesn’t have *as much* power right now as claimed, doesn’t dispute the fact that they *do* have too much power as it is. Facebook does not have a god given right to exist. None. They shall refrain from any further violations of civil liberties or face the consequences of break up.

    1. If anyone must bake the cake then Facebook should as well.

      1. Facebook isn’t even baking in your example. They are the landlords.

        1. Can your landlord compel you to or forbid you from baking a wedding cake based on the unspecified terms of your lease?

        2. No! I want my Libertarian Facebook cake!!!

        3. You are paying for Facebook, Jesse?

  10. “Facebook can’t kill, jail, or tax you. It can only stop you from posting on Facebook.”

    I guess following you around the internet, spying on you and selling your info to both private and government entities doesn’t rate a mention.

    “But I don’t use Facebook”

    So? Doesn’t mean that they’re not spying on you.

    Meanwhile: Signal Tries to Run the Most Honest Facebook Ad Campaign Ever, Immediately Gets Banned

    “A series of Instagram ads run by the privacy-positive platform Signal got the messaging app booted from the former’s ad platform, according to a blog post Signal published on Tuesday. The ads were meant to show users the bevy of data that Instagram and its parent company Facebook collects on users, by… targeting those users using Instagram’s own adtech tools.”

    1. Isn’t Facebook also in bed with federal government spying?

      1. Proposed. But yes.

    2. Whats missing by slave is the recent article about the federal government paying these companies to spy for the government.

      1. Soave

        1. Right both times?

    3. I guess following you around the internet, spying on you and selling your info to both private and government entities doesn’t rate a mention.

      If Visa (in violation of their TOS) said, “We received notice from the government that you don’t have enough capital to support your political views.” it would effectively be both immoral and a tax, right? Does it suddenly become a moral non-tax if they received notice from Facebook instead? How about if Facebook is sending them notice in enthusiatic cooperation with Public policy?

    4. And Facebook totally can’t be used to organize mob violence.

      What kind of libertarian pretends that speech has no value?

  11. If you’ve learned nothing from Homeland, it is the Facebooks that allow the Russians to coordinate with the sleeper cells and start Civil War 2.

  12. If you get booted by facebook and/or other major social media platforms, you can always go down to the street corner and speak your mind next to the endtimes guy, various panhandlers, and other groups of the unshowered.

    Your thoughts will get a warm reception and just as much traction.

    1. If your inalienable rights are violated, you pack your bags like a pussy.

      1. You seem to have a lot of trouble discerning the difference between private actors and state actors.

        1. Now do your cell phone.

        2. There’s really no difference in Facebook’s case

        3. The word INALIENABLE refers to the POSSESSOR.

          Whoever wants to violate them is irrelevant.

          For you to deny this is to deny the meaning of the constitution.

          The line you’re referring to “ CONGRESS WILL PASS NO LAW…” is simply in addition to the inalienable rights people have. Both apply, get it?

  13. If Facebook doesn’t like the business of free speech, they should have chosen a different business than communication.

    1. Why do you care so little about Facebooks inalienable rights?

      1. Please show us the inalienable right to violate inalienable rights.

        Facebook chose to build a virtual town square, inviting the public to communicate.

        SCOTUS has already ruled that town squares, even privately owned ones are obligated to respect 1a.

  14. FB is a private company and should be allowed to do as they please, even if inconsistent. I don’t use it. When you’re on your deathbed, will your final words be, “I wish I had spent more of my life on Facebook”?

    1. Facebook SHOULD NOT be allowed to violate inalienable rights.

      Are you suggesting that any private company should be able to violate the rights of the citizens where it does business?

      You really don’t understand the concept of inalienable rights, do you?

      1. Using government to force a private entity to do something that they don’t want to do? No. I’m not going along with that. Have another bakery bake your same sex wedding cake.

        1. Our rights are the law of the land.

          Are you opposing all law enforcement?

          1. FB is private. If a private land owner flies a Chinese flag on their property and allows someone to also fly a North Korea flag, you don’t get to fly a flag of your choice there too.

            I am opposing using government to coerce a private business. A T shirt company should not be forced to print pro abortion shirts, a Halal deli should not be forced to serve pork and FB should not be forced (by government) to allow former President Trump to have an active account.

            1. You are opposing the meaning and possession of inalienable rights.

              Fortunately the constitution overrules you.

              1. 1A is a restriction on government. Not private entities.

                1. The word INALIENABLE refers to the POSSESSOR.

                  Whoever wants to violate them is irrelevant.

                  For you to deny this is to deny the meaning of the constitution.

                  The line you’re referring to “ CONGRESS WILL PASS NO LAW…” is simply in addition to the inalienable rights people have. Both apply, get it?

                  1. Trump had the right to exercise his free speech in public, in his home and on his own internet platform but 1A does not allow him to force it on a private entity. This is why you can protest outside of a store on public property but doing so inside turns into trespassing. You can also put a Trump sign on your property but someone else cannot put a Biden sign on your lawn. But they could put it in the public esplande in front of your house.

                    1. You don’t understand or respect the constitution.

                      The Supreme Court has already ruled that you’re wrong.

                      There is a very interesting supreme court case that deals with the rights of a company that owns a town square to limit speech. Marsh vs Alabama. The ruling was that a company that owned a company town could not limit speech in that town. Here is a link to the ruling.

                      http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/326/501

                      “ The more an owner, for his advantage, opens up his property for use by the public in general, the more do his rights become circumscribed by the statutory and constitutional rights of those who use it.”

                      In other words, we carry our rights onto private property and everywhere we go.

                      If you run a business which is open for the general public, you are obliged to respect ALL their human rights.

                    2. Hows that for trump.

                    3. Next election cycle, go put a sign on someone’s lawn that does not support that candidate and see how that plays out.

                      Or go into an Apple Store and start advertising for Android and see how that plays out.

                    4. You obviously don’t understand the concept of being open for public use.

                      Whether you’re incapable or bigoted is irrelevant.

                    5. I don’t see FB the way SCOTUS sees a town square per the Marsh v Alabama case. You do. We can agree to disagree.
                      Maybe Trump will take FB to court and it can play out there.

                    6. I don’t agree to disagree,

                      If you can’t demonstrate a relevant difference, you simply disagree with the Supreme Court.

                    7. A town square is a physical open public space. It has been historically used for individuals and groups to express their 1A rights, amongst other activities. In large cities, there are many public spaces. In small towns, not so much. There are no written user agreements to access such a space. SCOTUS extended the protections to a privately owned Town’s “public space” by considering it as a public space.
                      FB is a private online social media app, one of many. Violating the terms of the user agreement subjects one to punishment up to and including a ban. FB has a history of policing content with which it does not agree and succeeded. This is in contrast to people using public spaces for dissent or communicating messages that don’t meet “fact checker” standards. FB is not operating in congruence with 1A. And why should they? They are not a public space. Likening a town square to FB requires gymnastics I’m not willing to perform.
                      I get why SCOTUS ruled how they did. I’d be surprised if Trump sued FB, it got to SCOTUS and they ordered FB to reinstate Trump’s account.

                    8. SCOTUS ruled that the more a private entity opens itself for public use, the more the public’s rights must be respected.

                      By definition an inalienable right cannot be given away by the possessor in any terms of use agreement.

                      Facebook is a place people congregate to share ideas. The electric data is no less physical than sound waves in the open air.

                      You’re “not prepared” to consider logical arguments.

                    9. A physical public space that may be the only public space in an area. Versus a social media app where you can add, block, ignore and even uninstall. And replace with similar apps. You haven’t made a cogent argument that they are alike. And you’d need to. Because Trump previously got banned. And he’s still banned. But just on FB. He can still go to public spaces like a town square.

                    10. It’s the place people congregate in 2021 to share ideas..

                      It is irrelevant that there are other ones. 1a applies to all or none of them.

                      Facebook is one of today’s town squares.

                      That’s the argument. Either you can refute it or you can’t.

                    11. It has been refuted. Which is why Trump had his privilege to use his account taken away. You can keep posting that they can’t. But they can. And they did. Because they are private.

                    12. “But they could put it in the public esplande in front of your house.”

                      Not necessarily so. Said esplande is usually owned by the municipality or the county. And most have specific ordinances about not putting any kind of signage on their property.

                      They are not violating 1a by doing this. They are controlling the property that is owned by the entity.

                    13. “It has been refuted.“

                      No it hasn’t.

                      You’re back to private eh?

                      Private companies can’t violate inalienable rights an you nor anyone else has demonstrated any logic that suggests they can.

                      You can’t refute that Facebook operates a public town hall either.

                    14. Did you see Trump’s FB post today?

      2. Rob, this argument breaks down once you admit that Facebook, Twitter, and Google are explicitly working in tandem, shutting down competition, and constitute an effective monopoly on political discourse outside of isolated bubbles. Monopolies have special rules because by merely existing, they distort the rights of others.

        Their power was never more visible than in the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, in which they prevented communication from established media about a bribery scandal that directly involved a candidate for president.

        The railroad barons didn’t stop being monopolistic trusts because you could use a horse-drawn cart. These companies constitute a monopolistic trust which is attempting to control all political speech.

        1. Thank you! The only person here that makes any sense.

          And Robby Suave, you are completely off-base on this one. We have to use these platforms in our daily lives. I just had to approve God knows what on WhatsApp in order to enter a chat that I use for business. They are far too powerful, people are rightly concerned about cancelling, de-platforming etc.

          This goes back to the whole ‘Corporations Are People’ debacle that was the worst Supreme Court decision in recent memory. Just because a ‘Natural Person’ is allowed free speech under the First Amendment, or a small baker from wherever doesn’t have to make a cake, does not mean that debate can be censored whenever a few billionaires feel like it.

        2. His argument was broken from the start. It is irrelevant who wants to violate an inalienable right.

          I really don’t understand the feeble mental gymnastics required to deny the clearly defined meaning of inalienable rights in the constitution.

        3. Uh, that would make them an oligopoly.

          1. There’s a difference between a monopoly and a trust.

            Oligopolies work, if the groups don’t coordinate. For example, big oil is an oligopoly, with a few mega-companies that fight tooth and nail. This generally works out for the best. However, if they coordinate together, it forms a trust, which has all the same powers as a monopoly despite being technically different companies.

            “Monopolistic trust” may be redundant, but I think it best describes the current Silicon Valley crowd.

    2. Nope fuck em, arrest their execs, shut them down.

  15. https://youtu.be/_dpUiFN9PWg

    Debating this bogus bullshit wingnut non-troversy known as Critical Race Theory.

    HUNTER BIDENS LAPTOP! BENGHAZII!!!!!!!!! DERP

    1. If you think that’s a nontroversy, try, “Some rando referred to me with pronouns before asking! My humanity’s been stolen!”

    2. “HUNTER BIDENS LAPTOP! BENGHAZII!!!!!!!!! DERP”

      Why does turd choose actual D fuckups in the hopes of making some point?
      Oh, right. Because he’s a fucking lefty ignoramus!

  16. You are just flat wrong on this one.

    It is not one company. There is a cartel, coordinated through The Groundwork… The company set up by alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt explicitly to tie into the back end of these companies in order to help Hillary Clinton and other Democrats win.

    The coordination now extends to the two major mobile platforms, most of the largest banks and payment processors, and at least a few of the major new journalism outlets.

    We have repeatedly seen coordinated ideologically driven attacks across the entire spectrum… Often based on obvious lies.

    No, we are not talking about 1 company. If that is all it was, there would not be a discussion.

    1. This is the exact point I was going to make. If it was just Facebook, few would care that much. Its the fact that is all of Big Tech colluding together for the benefit of one political party. They have already shown in multiple instances they will use their power to influence elections. This is a far more real threat to the US system than ‘Russia’.

  17. FB is not a sovereign country. As it is at war with our Bill of Rights it should be considered a hostile power along with Google and Twitter and perhaps MS who has declared war on the United States.

    1. Titus PUllo is not a sovereign country. As it is at war with our Bill of Rights (saying things that hurt My Precious Baby Feelings, and wanting to pre-empt the private property rights of other speakers and forum-hosters), Titus PUllo should be considered a hostile power along with MammaBahnFuhrer and JesseBahnFuhrer, who have declared war on truly free speech, property rights, and the right to NOT be forced to host lies and incitements of violence!

  18. I guess the tryrants of the past were all fools to ban the printing press. Afterall, the written word has no power according to a ‘reporter.’

  19. Rico, virtue signalling to progressives is wasted effort.

    They still hate you.

  20. If you want to find fine ladies for chat in UK you must to visit Shemale Sex Ads Leicester

  21. “Facebook can’t kill, jail, or tax you. It can only stop you from posting on Facebook”

    It can also permit the use of facebook to have you fired, run out of town, and to ruin your credit.

  22. The committee has spoken —

    Anyone (even the President of the United States) who believes a 94% Biden favor on 600,000 votes in a Swing State probably represents enough evidence of fraud to be stated as such…….

    Is committing an act of proposed violent crime!

    That day fascism and election fraud became normalized in the USA…

  23. …it obscures some legitimate concerns about how the media bullies the company into making bad calls, as well as issues with the various hypocrisies—often unintentional—produced by uneven enforcement.

    This sentence is important.

  24. I agree that the government should stay out of social media–whether governmentt is controlling, owning, or subsidizing social media. However, little Robby is getting silly with this quote:

    The right’s escalation of Facebook moderation policies to an extinction-level threat is extremely unhelpful, as it obscures some legitimate concerns about how the media bullies the company into making bad calls,

    One, Facebook is part of the media. Two, what does the rest of the media do? Put Mark Zuckerberg’s head in a toilet?

    1. Facebook is not the media. The users posting on Facebook might be, but Facebook does not post any of its own content. They’re more like the paper mill and printing press for a newspaper, not the newspaper itself.

      1. As long as the paper mill and press manufacture only sell to the Washington Post and the New York Times, you are right.

        1. Facebook allows billions of users to use its platform. The only people who are disallowed are those who chose not to agree to its terms of agreement, or those who have violated such terms.

      2. NYT isnt the media, their writers and photographers create all of their content.
        Facebook chooses what stories are visible or not visible in your timeline. The fact that theyre not paying their content creators (and stealing from other media outlets) doesnt change that fact. They they are literally (not hyperbolically, rather by definition) the media that the content appears on. No different that newspapers or television. And yes, I’ll grant that they have the right to do whatever moderation they choose, but this means they are a publisher/broadcaster and they need to be treated as such.

      3. Clearly you are a Facebook employee, no normal person would state something that idiotic and blatantly false. You think that Facebook doesn’t use editorial discretion? It quite obviously does. Oh wait, you must be on the payroll.

  25. Would anyone be surprised if telephone carriers banned people for saying bad things?

    1. They should be treated like NBC, not ATT.

  26. When Amazon booted Parler at the request by Facebook, I think you might have a cartel running social media.

  27. > The only thing Facebook can do is stop people from posting on Facebook.

    This is it in a nutshell. Facebook is just an internet forum. That is all. Calling it “social media” merely obscures the reality that it’s just a big comment section without a leading article to comment on. Except that users get to block other users from their feed (why can’t we have that here?). It’s actually a micro-blogging platform. Twitter is a nano-blogging platform. Users agree to terms of service, voluntarily post micro (nano) blog posts, and get mini comment sections on those posts.

    The idea that this gives Facebook more power than the United Nations, and is LARPing as a government, is fucking bullshit.

    So-called “conservatives” whining that it’s a quasi-government public utility need to turn in their conservative membership card.

  28. The government can’t either, at least not without horrible optics, but hey let’s just pretend that free markets have no impact on anything and should be exempt from criticism.

    jUsT sToP uSiNg It
    *go to another platform
    YoUrE a RaCiSt
    *Facebook affiliates deny market entry
    aT lEaSt ThEy CaNt KiLl YoU
    *donates hundreds of millions exclusively to election infrastructure for Democrats for security

  29. The only problem with Facebook’s “monopoly” is that too many people have opted for using Facebook as their sole interface with the world. If you allow a private company to curate all the information you access, then the problem is with you, not the company. This is akin to the people who put their entire portfolios into Enron, then were surprised when they found out they were broke. Their is a reason your mother told you not to put all your eggs in one basket when you were a kid.
    Reason, Townhall, the New York Post, and many other sites provide a conservative or libertarian perspective and are easy to access. If you’re too lazy to go find them, then the problem is not Mark Zuckerberg.

    1. The problem isn’t that people made a stupid choice, it’s what FB did after the choice was made. They weaponized the information and power and have become nothing more than a PAC for Democrats and, in a more dystopian sense, any politician who is willing to enslave themselves to the FB corporate overlords.

      This is the part where free markets transition to ancap memeballs. Being libertarian doesn’t mean zero rules or regulation. It mostly means not interfering with actual market dynamics. Influencing and controlling elections isn’t part of market dynamics.

    2. “Reason, Townhall, the New York Post”

      Precisely. No 230 for them.

  30. FB or Google individually don’t bother me, but when they all act in concert to shut down websites it seems ripe for anti-trust action.

  31. Facebook can manipulate enough people into voting for a presidential candidate who ends up spending $3T/month. And that’s a problem.

  32. I just love it when fake libertarians defend government imposed monopolies as private enterprise free to do whatever they want. I guess it just goes along with them defending trade relations with a totalitarian regime that is committing genocide, using slave labor to build the things we buy, and slowly strangling one of the world’s last bastions of actual freedom all the while they are trying to stamp out freedom in our country.

  33. “how the media bullies the company (Facebook) into making bad calls”

    If anything, I think the bullying goes the other way. It’s much more likely they’re working together.

  34. I’m not so sure about the killing part. Antifa/BLM organized on FB and many people died.

  35. We have far more opportunities to exercise free speech than at any time in history. You can post open comments on YOUTUBE, NEWSMAX, REASON, Fox News, the list is endless. You can have your own blog, you can talk on Clubhouse, self publishing an e-book has never been easier. If you get excluded from Facebook and Twitter, go somewhere else.

  36. I can’t tell if this article is being intentionally obtuse.

    A red light camera and a tracking app can’t literally jail you or kill you, but we oppose them for a reason. Walmart can’t literally drop bombs on you, and they could effectively starve you if they had total dominion over the consumers.

    FB (more relevantly Instgram) is a global platform in information. This is not some regional company or media outlet where information theoretically edited or vetted. If FB was selective in posting and amplifying information, they can create all kinds of narrative in their favor, or in favor of their preferred political ideology, or even aid in government propaganda. They can cancel anyone, or help erase someone who had been cancelled.

    Reason has a hard time in believing in an oligarchy, or they don’t think major tech platforms are biased against non leftist thought. They’re like those complacent scientists in sci fi movies that assure everyone that everything is fine and the main character is out of his mind. The human desire to rule over others doesn’t stop at government.

  37. Facebook chose to build a virtual town square, inviting the public to communicate.

    SCOTUS has already ruled that town squares, even privately owned ones are obligated to respect 1a.

    I really don’t understand the feeble mental gymnastics required to deny the clearly defined meaning of inalienable rights in the constitution.

  38. I don’t get why Facebook doesn’t have more and better competition. It’s supposed to be a free country … I know Gab, MeWe and Parler exist, although I tried to get Parler but somehow could not get it downloaded so that’s suspicious … People always hating on Facebook, but we’re still always on it…

    1. Trumplicans can’ find anyone capable of building such a website and who is willing to work for them to build a site that is full of conspiracy theories. And of course, there is not a single Trumplican with the abilities to create such a site. So there’s that.

      1. In typical fashion, Trumpers want somebody else to do the work and spend the money.

  39. Say; Let’s all just pretend Facebook isn’t censoring because Democratic Politicians ASKED THEM TOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

    Shall we? I’m all for private companies keeping there rights – but I also think a law needs to exist that keeps POLITICIANS from threatening them… Every single politician using his/her position of power to enact fascism in the USA should be charged for something.

    1. ????????

      1. Bravo!!! (clapping emoji above not allowed apparently)

  40. Trumplicans:
    The 1st amendment means government may not restrict your free speech. It does not man that social media companies should be required by government to provide an audience and a microphone for you. Government takeover of private business goes by another name: socialism.

    I didn’t pen that, someone in the libertarian party did. But it rings so true with a lot of Trumplicans. Actually, I mean all Trumplicans.

  41. And yet a former President has been banned from their platforms for wrongthink.

    Cringe stories from young beltway libertarians like this show how impotent the look 3 ways before you cross crowd can be when trying to forge some sort of “reasonable” opinion about obvious shit.

    Just gloss over the fact that all but the limpest of right leading dicks like Ben Shapiro are the only voices you see. Gee wiz, wonder why.

  42. And yet a former President has been banned from their platforms for wrongthink.

    Cringe stories from young beltway libertarians like this show how impotent the look 3 ways before you cross crowd can be when trying to forge some sort of “reasonable” opinion about obvious shit.

    Just gloss over the fact that all but the limpest of right leading dicks like Ben Shapiro are the only voices you see. Anyone that has a legitimately alternative view is fucked on these platforms.

    1. “Wrongthink” —that’s hilarious. Trump was promoting sedition and insurrection and spreading and pushing the Big Lie (h/t Josef Goebbels) about a “stolen election.” You. People.

      1. The “Big Lie” that not a single person can dispute short of censoring the evidence. I still haven’t seen a single claim that their wasn’t 600,000 mail-in votes in PA of which 94% went for Biden. When the numbers makes every single attendee of the investigation committee laugh out loud because the numbers were so absurd is there really anything short of prejudice is make one believe otherwise?

        The “Big Lie” is how quickly and obviously clear-as-day election fraud was shoveled under the rug (Who denies it? It was everywhere!)… I mean GOOD-GRIEF the President of the United States was censored as well as ANY outfit that had solid evidence one way or the other; because let me clue you in — there was ZERO as in ZILCH as in NODDA evidence ever debunking the obvious.

  43. I usually agree with much of what comes from Reason but this is one time I have to say, NO. This is a huge deal. It’s being over exaggerated at all. In todays day and age many of us, especially the tech savy and the young, use the internet as their exclusive source of information. I’m 43, granted I’m also a tech guy, but I hardly watch any news on TV anymore and hardly ever listen to the radio. It’s not the same anymore since the Talkmaster left us. My Daughter is 7 and has almost zero interest in TV and hardly knows what a radio is. But if it’s online, she knows all about it. Where do you think she’s going to go for information on elections (If we still have them) in 10 years? Social media has become more than just companies and properties. They are the modern equivalent of the public square. Those who control the social media, will control the tone, and direction of this nation and the world.

    1. It’s not like there isn’t plenty of social media on the right and extreme right which would banish me for life after my first leftwing post so there should be no problem with a middle grounder like FB having rules of conduct, such as: No lying about stolen elections and no promotion of sedition and insurrection.

      1. Funny; It was Facebook that initiated the “banishing” it was Democratic Politicians who ASKED (probably threatened) Facebook to shutdown the sitting President.

        But of course the whole story won’t come out because those Democratic Politicians will threaten them too because they live by threats of Gov-Guns dictating everything — It shows in every policy they support, every dictation, every Nazi Flag they waive (def; National Socialism).

  44. Nothing peels the thin veneer off of Libertarianism posturing faste and better than when a private company applies libertarian principles to its business. No one has a right to post anything he wants on FB especially if those posts are in the cause of sedition and treason or for the purpose of grifting a bunch of rightwing LARPs.

    1. Not much of an advocate for the constitution are you?

  45. OK, Reason, cancel your Facebook account. You don’t need it, you have your own website where you can post anything you want. You’ll pardon me if I don’t wait. Also, if the cell/phone company was censoring your phone calls and texts, you’d be upset, but it’s OK for Facebook? I guess consistency is for those of us with little minds who Just Don’t Understand.

  46. If you have an inalienable right, meaning one which cannot be given or taken away from you, then you must carry that right with you everywhere you go.

    That’s why Facebook can’t violate 1a.

    That’s called a logical proof.

  47. Obama: ‘Google, Facebook Would Not Exist’ Without Government Funding

    https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-google-facebook-would-not-exist-without-government-funding

    1. https://www.rollcall.com/2020/06/16/democrats-increase-pressure-on-facebook-over-content-policies-and-trump-posts/

      If it was entirely Facebook’s decision to censor all Republicans that would be an different story than the REAL issue at hand.

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