Censorship is not a form of free speech

Should a carrier of information be allowed to do this? ’60 Minutes:’ More Than 300 Ads by Trump Campaign Taken Down by Google and YouTube. That is, should a carrier of the views of individuals who have signed up to discuss issues with their friends and with anyone else who would like to join in, be censored by the platform on which their views are expressed?

More than 300 of President Donald Trump’s political ads have taken down by Google and its video platform YouTube, mostly over the summer, according to a report by 60 minutes.

The CBS reporters were unable to find specific reasons for the mass takedowns of Trump ads, a common problem with social media companies, which are often reluctant to explain precisely why a ban or other act of censorship has happened. “We found very little transparency in the transparency report,” concluded 60 Minutes.

They are not just publishers, they are also censors. Why is this allowed? Let me also draw in Wednesday’s editorial in The Australian: Tech titans Google and Facebook want to rule your world, wherein we find:

In July, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission issued a report on the devastating impact of digital platforms. It was the deepest dive yet by a regulator into the predatory business models of Google, Facebook and Twitter, exposing monopoly powers, cavalier approaches to user privacy, pathological secrecy and parasitical freeloading on businesses such as News Corp Australia, our parent.

No doubt News Limited has its own interests at stake, but more importantly so do the rest of us. Moreover, Australia is being looked at as a test case:

The question is: can these giants be brought under control, their dominance checked for the common good? Authorities around the world are watching what happens here. The government’s move will have a profound effect on the future of news media and the lives of all Australians.

This is the reverse of a free speech issue in the usual sense. People didn’t sign up to twitter, facebook and youtube expecting the content of their posts to be heavily censored on behalf of massive corporate entities whose politics is embedded on the far left. We would be mad to let them get away with it, and in the long-run would pay dearly for allowing these censors to pretend they are on the side of free speech.

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