Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

The Opposite of Infowars

Alex Jones, InfoWars, censorship, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,

Yesterday’s big story? Several major social media platforms have de-platformed Alex Jones and his Infowars opinion (“information”?) show. 

Most commenters about this happening hasten to signal to their audiences that they do not approve of Alex Jones. Is this really necessary? When we consider a mass de-platforming event, do we need to belabor the obvious? 

I hazard that even most of Jones’s viewers and listeners agree with a small amount of what he says. Jones is more like Jon Stewart and Cenk Uygur, a performer whose rants entertain most of all. In his case, because he says things no one else will, Infowars makes for a bracing . . . alternative.

It should also go without saying that private platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Apple, who are the main players to kick Jones to the curb of the Information Super-Highway, have the right to include or exclude anyone they want. As Robby Soave at Reason put it, these “companies are under no obligation to provide a platform to Sandy Hook conspiracy theorizing, 9/11 trutherism, or any of the other insane ideas Jones has propagated.”

But Soave does worry about the goofy rationales provided for the exclusion.

As do I. And it is not just that the proffered reason, “hate speech,” is, as Soave explains, vague, unanchored to any offered specific offenses.

But it’s worse. This whole exclusionary move is not about hate speech. Everyone knows this.

It’s about suppressing ideas that are (a) popular and (b) despised by the dominant culture.

And these insiders seem at a loss to confront Jones’s farragoes with better ideas, failing to provide “counter info” in their war on Infowars. 

They strike below the belt.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

 


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By: Redactor

5 Comments

  1. Ken says:

    I agree that, as a private enterprise, Facebook and other similar services are and should retain the freedom to ban any content they want. (I do, however, find the proffered justifications for their decisions, and the claim that it wasn’t “they” but some black-box algorithm that banned or demoted certain content, to be rather insulting to my intelligence.) The fact remains that once they decide what content may and may not be posted on their platforms, they have abandoned their positions as simple platform providers, and assumed the role of publishers. As such, they forfeit any immunity against liable, slander, defamation, and similar offenses for any content appearing on their platforms.

    • Pat says:

      I heard one talking head suggest they should follow the rules governing libel and slander.  Only comments which would meet those standards (and leave Facebook and similar companies liable for damages) deserve to be censored.
      The internet was supposed to facilitate the free flow of information.   Now sites where you could comment freely in the past require you to be on social media (which I avoid like the plague) or on disqus, which is another centralized site.   I like to look at Infowars just to see what they’re up to and the comments have been largely disabled because of the near monopoly enjoyed by Disqus, which also cut off service to infowars.
      Private or public, these companies are betraying their customers, by hampering the free flow of information.    So much for free speech.   They clearly will not defend the right of others to utter views with which they disagree.    Like it or not, the internet is now the public square.  These companies may have the right to do what they are doing but that doesn’t mean they are doing the right thing.

  2. Rocketman says:

    What gets me is the pathetic excuse that Facebook used. Facebook wants us to feel “safe”. Seriously? This sounds a little like a mother preventing her child from ever going outside, playing with other children or learning about what’s going on in the rest of the world. When the child finally does go out on his own he’s going to die from a heart attack.

  3. D Rogers says:

    Paul. Facebook has no more right to ban public discourse than a Pruneyard store and for the same reason. When you enter into a commercial enterprise that coopts the public square and exercises an inordinate amount of influence upon public discourse, you must accepted the First Amendment content-neutral strict scrutiny that goes with it. If you do not, you have successfully bottlenecked your algorithmically driven propaganda into your own kingdom of control. This is not America, it is the definition of fascism, and we are all far too gone to care. We need to be protected from ourselves.

  4. D Rogers says:

    Paul. Facebook has no more right to restrict free speech than a Pruneyard store and for the same reasons. If you coopt the public square for your own commercial purposes, then you adopt the responsibility to provide a cobtent-neutral strict scrutiny forum for free exchange of ideas lest we become the Kingdom of Facebook.

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