Social Media

Politics and Social Media: Should We Use Exit, Voice, or Loyalty?

The Reason Roundtable argues over what to do when Twitter prematurely suppresses oppo-dump journalism unfavorable to Democrats, and when politicians respond with retaliatory regulation.


"Once social media sites take on the responsibility of policing speech," David Harsanyi wrote at Reason in 2018, "they are transforming themselves into adjudicators of what ideas are tolerable on purportedly open platforms.

"That's a precarious position moving forward." Boy howdy is it.

On today's Reason Roundtable podcast. Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, Matt Welch, and special guest star Stephanie Slade debate the appropriate responses both to Twitter's move to suppress a New York Post article about Hunter Biden, and also the reflex by too many politicians to retaliate by rewriting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The gang also talks about how to read the latest polls, what everyone learned from last week's presidential townhalls, and why Slade is even considering a vote for Joe Biden.

Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.

Music: Is That You or Are You You by Chris Zabriskie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

Relevant links from the show:

"The Media Do Not Want You To Read, Share, or Discuss The New York Post's Hunter Biden Scoop," by Robby Soave

"Twitter Blocking a New York Post Article Was Dumb—but Not Illegal, Censorship, or Election Interference," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"You Can't Always Trust What You Hear Online, and Congress Has Some Ideas About Fixing That," by Jesse Walker

"Big Tech Is Just the Beginning: House Dems Seek Major Changes to Antitrust Law," by Andrea O'Sullivan

"Afraid of Foreign Election Meddling? Worry More About America's Sick Political Culture," by J.D. Tuccille

"Actually, It's Good That Major Networks Are Covering Both Trump's and Biden's Town Halls," by Scott Shackford

"Joe Biden Still Doesn't Have a Coherent Answer About Court Packing," by Eric Boehm

"No, Joe Biden, Cops Can't Just Shoot People in the Leg," by Robby Soave

"If Trump Was Serious About Police Reform, He Would Have Addressed Qualified Immunity," by Billy Binion

"Jo Jorgensen: 'Requiring People To Vaccinate Their Children Is One of the Most Egregious Things That the Government Can Do,'" by Matt Welch

NEXT: Who Should Libertarians Vote for in 2020? A Soho Forum Update

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  1. Jeffrey Toobin has a confirmed micro-penis!

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  2. The Reason posse will defend to the death the right of taxpayer-subsidized corporations to censor their benefactors, all while preserving the government-granted monopoly they have been granted.

    1. Just build your own search engine, video hosting service, or social media website. Oh, and don’t host hateful content that the ADL or Southern Poverty Law Center disapprove of. Freedom of speech is important unless you defend hateful speech.

      1. It’s funny, because Twitter and TikTok have played a substantial role in normalizing left-wing totalitarianism. Do you think the rush to push critical race theory and transgender-mania on the general public would have been as successful without Jack Dorsey’s help? And they accomplished all of this with the public’s money. (But we all know that when a corporation accepts government subsidies, it’s just using the system to its advantage, like all good businesses do! Taxation is theft, but people who accept that stolen money are just really savvy!)

        1. Twitter *and* TikTok? TikTok? A company that didn’t even exist 4 years ago? Those stupid dance videos must be really persuasive.

          1. You’re the kind of person who thinks political correctness on college campuses is no big deal because people will grow out of it.

            1. Campus ideology is always mainstream ideology 20 years later.
              Hold onto your hat because we’re in for an incredibly stupid and annoying ride.

              1. This.

                It’s an exceptionally depressing thought.

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      2. Except hateful speech to these idiots is anything they don’t like. Which pretty much encompasses all political speech except left wingers, blmantifa assholes, and violent jihadists.

        Also the notion that I should build my own shit. How about we refuse to use their shit. How about journalists and reason koch liberaltarians stop using twitter to get their news and source their own reports.

        It’s a shit show. Just stop using it. Starve the beast. It’s our insistence on self flagellation that we keep coming back to using bloated billionaires software services.

        Because one thing is going to happen. Either these silicon valley faggots are going to be the owners, moderators, and ass kissers of the internet, or we are. If by we I mean the government starts regulating them like they do other forms of communication, so be it.

        1. Do you have to defend literal Nazis or is there some part of you that identifies with them?

        2. We don’t have a free market. Big tech’s stranglehold on social media is a product of government favors. Breaking up big tech would create a freer market than the one we have now. The libertarian obsession with resisting all forms of government intervention is practically a form of psychosis at this point.

          1. Big tech’s stranglehold on social media . . .

            Big Tech *created* social media. I don’t see how it needed government’s help to get a ‘stranglehold’ on something these companies created themselves.

            You sound unhinged.

            1. Nothing libertarians love more than leaping to the defense of corporations who wouldn’t give them a second thought. No amount of woke lunacy that big tech sires will convince them that corporate impunity is a bad thing.

            2. Agammamon, you come into this space like some kind of crazy libertarian with your silly libertarian arguments. This space isn’t for libertarians. This space has been reserved as a safe space for white grievance politics and Trump worship.

              1. The only person talking about white grievance politics here is you.

                1. Well of course. It’s not like you will admit that it’s your motivating drive.

                  1. To be fair, a lot of white people are pretty awesome. We’re lucky we have places like Portland to take the mentally ill ones.

                  2. Did the dog whistles tell you that?

                  3. Race is the only way you can categorize people, huh Chipper.

            3. I don’t see how it needed government’s help to get a ‘stranglehold’ on something these companies created themselves.

              Are you fucking serious? The primary reason these companies got so big was BECAUSE of government seed funding, particularly by the CIA’s investment arm, In-Q-Tel. They provided Google with foundation code for pennies on the dollar; Google Earth, for example, was based off of Keyhole Earth Viewer, which In-Q-Tel dumped money into in 2003 and was later bought by Google.

              You think Facebook turned into the monster it did because of Zuck’s “genius”? No, it grew past the shitty MySpace knockoff that it was thanks to angel investment by Peter Thiel, who was provided with In-Q-Tel funding when he set up Palantir, and Jim Breyer, whose ties to the CIA are well-known. Keep in mind that Breyer also has deep ties to Chinese investment firms.

              Let’s dispense with this “plucky Silicon Valley tech nerds built an global megacorps empire from scratch” mythology, shall we? These firms turned into giants precisely because of government largesse and glad-handing with politicians, not because the product they sold was so awesome. None of these fucks got to the level they did organically, which is the case with any global megacorps. Hell, Reason’s been documenting how these companies take advantage of crony capitalism for decades, and now we should stick up for them? What makes them different from a professional sports team that gets the taxpayers to build them stadiums AND lease the land afterwards for pennies?

              1. Incidentally, the CIA has had its tentacles in the tech world since at least 1999, when spook Gilman Louie first set up In-Q-Tel’s predecessor, In-Q-It. There’s still an article on Zdnet by Jennifer Mack from September 1999 that talks all about it.

            4. Big Tech *created* social media. I don’t see how it needed government’s help to get a ‘stranglehold’ on something these companies created themselves.

              Like as if the internet and it’s oligarchs are just spontaneously generated free market enterprises and not deeply intertwined with the military industrial complex and ivy league elite institution populated by legacy admissions

          2. Your right…big tech was funded by hedge funds who get their money from the Fed at artificially low rates…this is why Google and FB and Twitter have little to no competition. End the Fed and you end most of the hedge funds who provide capital to these bolsheviks..and that is also the reason their are all pushing Anti American cultural marxist ideology…the hedge funds get their buddies/family members who like them grew up in NYC (dad worked at goldman and mom was a social activist/NYU gender studies prof), went to Ivy League schools majored in liberal art bullshit, interned for Chuck Schumer and then got a great gig as “content manager” at FB or Twitter or Google. And when someone who works at one of these statist firms points out their agenda (usually an ethnic Italian or Irish Kid) they get fired. End the Fed and you cut off their funding…they are a clear and present danger to the Republic..they are the modern bolsheviks in America.

      3. Just build your own search engine, video hosting service, or social media website.

        Gab tried this and got hosting and credit card processing revoked.

        Reason: mAkE yOuR oWn InTeRnEt

      4. You forgot payment processors, banks, banking conglomerates, and tech supporting our payment processing.

    2. That should say “monopolies.” Leave me alone.

      1. If its ‘monopolies’ then its not.

        1. I’m talking about monopolies in various sectors, genius. Facebook isn’t Twitter isn’t Instagram isn’t YouTube isn’t TikTok.

          1. And none of those are monolies even within their ‘sector’.

        2. Oligopoly is a better description. This can also encompass, eg, the banking oligopoly that financially chokes out any fledgling competition to the tech oligopoly.

          1. You’re telling me the bank I started with my friend Leon last week can’t compete with Bank of America?

            1. It can, but only until the army of federal bureaucrats descends upon you.

          2. Yes you hit it on the head and why they are so woke…look at who runs wall street..far leftists..and statists..cultural marxism as a friend of mine from grad school once said is the “religion at Goldman and most Hedge Funds”

    3. 1. They’re not taxpayer subsidized.

      2. They don’t have a monopoly at all, let alone a government grante one. The fact that there’s a ‘they’ should tell you that.

      There are certainly issues to deal with with social media – flat out lying about what those issues are, as you are doing here, won’t help solve them.

      1. If you think social media isn’t taxpayer-subsidized, then you haven’t done your research.

        I hope Jack has you on payroll.

      2. I can’t get no interest loans from the Fed…of course they are and I can’t create credit from thin air..hedge funds can and they fund big bolshevik tech…

      3. 1. They’re not taxpayer subsidized

        The fuck they weren’t.

  3. Not sure if anybody has written about this before, but the rush to remake social media in the left’s image is a direct product of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. It started when Milo (who is an idiot) got nuked from Twitter. It continued because the DNC deluded itself into thinking Russian memes are the reason it lost in 2016. Hillary lost an election, so now, social media needs to be rebuilt in her image.

    When Reason shrugs off this sort of censorship because it’s coming from a private corporation (albeit one that the public is forced to subsidize), it invites even more encroachments.

    1. Dude! Stop complaining and just build your own ISP. The free market will provide the services desired by the greatest number of people.

      1. I’m working on it, dude. Just need to knock down these last few barriers to entry.

      2. Listen here, Rabbi. Spouting off on Twitter is a basic human right. It’s not in the Constitution, but it should be. If the Founders foresaw the rise of Twitter, you know it would have been included in the First Amendment.

        1. Chipper believes that corporations that receive government subsidies have the right to discriminate against the people who are forced to fund them. Taxation is theft, but the people who use that stolen money are hard-working entrepreneurs!

          1. Tax breaks are not stolen money, dumbass.

      3. Can you call your buddies at the Fed..perhaps they can give our friend here 200M to start up and take down FB or Twitter..

  4. Radley Balko has become a massive tool ever since he started writing for The Washington Post. Just look at this.

    1. Nothing says tool like having a social media profile picture of you in a mask. God what a tool Balko is.

      1. That’s right. Showing your support for basic hygiene and common courtesy is so condescending. In fact, next time John has a medical procedure, he is going to ask the surgeon to not wear a mask or even wash his hands, because it’s demeaning to the surgeon and doesn’t respect his basic liberties.

        1. It is not hygiene. It is conformity you miserable fuck. Even it were hygiene, so is brushing your teeth or wiping your ass. Do you put pictures of yourself doing that on social media?

          Go sell your sick conformity obsession to someone else.

          1. Something tells me you wouldn’t rage-comment about someone that is holding a toothbrush in their profile picture.

    2. Jennifer Rubin..that says enough…WAPO is still claiming the Rosenbergs were misunderstood (ok kidding..maybe?)

    3. How sad that he’s been completely broken by someone who doesn’t even know he exists.

  5. Conservatives want the government to take over social media do they can pound their stupid pablum into the unwitting skulls of citizens like they do on AM redneck radio today.

    1. You are just pissed they will stop people from posting child porn. Sicko.

      1. The wasteland of AM radio shows you how conservatives will fuck up a neighborhood. It is all redneck politics and Bible beating scam artists.

        1. I am an educated elite and you are a pedophile who lives in his mom’s basement

          1. You’re a QAnon peddling Alex Jones wannabe.

            1. Back in the day, people thought you were David Weigel. Is this still the case?

        2. You’ve seen Cuties at least five times.

          1. No that is Sollum…

  6. In an interesting story Danish undertakers are asking for a government bailout because the government promised them a banner year over the coronavirus and it turns out the government lied – deaths in Denmark are actually lower this year than they were last year. How come we don’t hear anything about Denmark in the World of Wuhan Weekly Wrap-up?

  7. Just leave Twitter and Facebook. You won’t miss them.

    If you want a good libertarian discussion/news site, start one.

    1. A libertarian and a corporate lawyer walk into a bar. But I repeat myself.

    2. There have been two big exoduses here in Reason comments. In both cases, a chunk of the commenters went off and started communities of their own. In other words, you’re absolutely right–and other people have already done it twice.

      The next time there’s a split, and there almost certainly will be one, I suggest they choose an alternative social media platform–like Mastodon, MeWe, or Parler.

      People who whine about the way they’re treated by the big social media companies and keep using them are like people who complain that no one will hire them without ever looking for a job.

      1. For Pete’s sake, if 8chan and Qanon can find places to host and protect their communities, anyone else can, too.

        “QAnon/8chan sites back online after being ousted by DDoS-protection vendor”

        —-Ars Technica 10.19.20

      2. If you are an individual sure. But try running a business with no presence on those platforms.

        1. That’s a good point.

          1. That’s a very good point. When Coin Base CEO Brian Armstrong announced they were going to run an apolitical operation Dorsey fired a shot across the bow.

            #Bitcoin (aka “crypto”) is direct activism against an unverifiable and exclusionary financial system which negatively affects so much of our society. Important to at *least* acknowledge and connect the related societal issues your customers face daily. This leaves people behind:
            — jack (@jack) September 30, 2020

            Keep an eye on Coin base to see if the others pile on.

        2. >>But try running a business with no presence on those platforms.

          don’t give in to sloganeering.

      3. Yeah, but how can you make snarky comments and throw insults to get likes, if there’s only a few people at Parler?

        Look, Twitter fuels the need for signaling, and people are addicted to the feedback and boost to self-esteem it provides. I don’t know how we ever lived without it.

        Sarcasm aside, it’s true that people need to make a change or get off it. This bullshit stops once everyone stops giving Twitter and Facebook power by acting like it means something.

        1. We can start by getting our friends and family onto different (and better) products like Slack. Slack does everything with friends and family that I want to do with a product like Facebook–only better because of all the integrations. integrate Zoom, Dropbox and any other programs the family is already using, and you’re looking at a more compelling product than Facebook–regardless of the increased privacy. If our friends and family are already using Zoom and Dropbox, integrating them and others into Slack answer the question of why they should use Slack instead of Facebook. Facebook is a pain in the ass compared to Zoom and Dropbox with Slack.

          Why does anybody want to share information with friends and family on the same platform as 1 billion other strangers anyway?

          Point is, it won’t be one service that takes Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube down. It’ll be a dozen smaller services that do individual things better than any of the other services can do–when those other huge services are trying to be everything to everybody.

          This website is good for talking to other libertarians. It does that better than Facebook or Twitter. In that way, it’s a superior substitute for Facebook and Twitter. If conservatives want to talk to other conservatives, let them use Parler. Smaller companies will specialize in areas that the bigger players can’t do well, and breaking off a piece at a time adds up.

          1. It used to be that everybody would buy their TVs and hardware at Sears. Home Depot came along, and they blew Sears’ hardware department out of the water. Best Buy came along, and who goes to buy their TVs from Sears anymore? Sears used to sell insurance and would do your taxes. Sears had one of the first consumer oriented ISP’s , Prodigy. They were slow to go from 16 bit to 32 bit with their graphics–because the service was mostly thought by management to be for sending in your tax data to H&R Block. Why would anybody want to use the internet for anything other than whatever it was Sears was trying to sell?

            Point is, Sears got their ass handed to them by smaller companies that specialized in each of those areas, and that may happen to Facebook and Twitter. Trying to be everything to everybody often means you end up doing nothing better than your competitors who specialize in each of those areas.

      4. I must have missed those two exoduses. Where did they go exactly?

        1. The Glibening resulting in the Glibertarian Exodus

          1. >> Glibertarian Exodus

            smacked of effort … oooh we’re too cool for school

        2., too.

      5. But those other social media sites don’t exist Ken. Chalice assures me that Facebook and Twitter are monopolies within their sector.

        I am assured of this.

        Just like floatplane club and bitchute and twitch don’t exist – it’s all youtube.

      6. That’s right–tell them darkies that if they want to eat out, they can start their OWN restaurant. Or find some darkie restaurant to eat at. If they wanna eat here, they’ll do it out back, where they belong.

        Negroes who whine about public accommodations are like negroes who whine just because businesses don’t want to hire negroes.

        That about right, Ken?

  8. Lost some respect for Stephanie Slade from this discussion. Her position on Biden is a head-scratcher at best. Glad Nick called her out.

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  10. A sandwhich shop can have a no shirt, no service policy. I have no right to a service if I go in there without a shirt. But if that store enforces that on republicans and not democrats, I should be able to sue them.

    Why should Twitter or FB be any different? They shouldn’t be liable for content uploaded by a third party. But if they hire an editing / fact check team that works on only one side of a viewpoint, they should be sued.

    When I sign up for a social media account, I should be considered as a customer, not a user, even if the service is free. There should be a contract or set TOS within certain regulatory framework. Social media sites can’t say “we decide to demonetize all your vids because we came up with a new standard on the fly”, no more than Amazon can decided standard delivery will now take 3 weeks.

    There should be sensible section 230 reform that balances rights of the private companies with the public’s right to share info. Libertarians should explore options instead of just saying “they’re private companies”

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  13. Trump 2020!

    Watch Lefty heads explode when he gets reelected.

  14. how ’bout you stop barfing your thoughts and just text your friends?

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