There are many things that people generally associate with the American Civil Liberties Union, including an extremely leftist outlook on most politics and a long history of completely ignoring gun rights’ issues, unless other constitutional issues were also involved. The ACLU has long associated with a number of left-leaning political groups, and often seems to intertwine its interests in the constitution with heir own, so it was a surprise when a director with the ACLU suddenly stood up for Alex Jones, who’s various media outlets are being systematically shut down.
The director of the civil rights organization’s speech, privacy, and technology project has shocked many leftists after accurately blasting the recent bans. At least someone in the ACLU still believes in free speech for all, not just for speech they like!
These outlets claimed the basis for this action was ‘violation of hate speech,’ although the strangely well-timed removal raised a number of questions about whether or not the removal was planned, and ‘hate speech’ policies were just the excuse.
Later, even Twitter, which originally refused to take action against Jones, stating that he had not violated any of their policies with his content on the site, decided to hand him a temporary suspension.
Wizner said that the companies had a constitutional right to ban whoever they wanted from their platforms. However, he also pointed out that ‘hate speech’ is an absurdly subjective term, with extremely subjective standards.
He said that, in particular, he was worried about the idea of massive private companies being able to define such an ambiguous category.
The ACLU project director pointed out that while government, in setting speech policies, at least acts in the alleged interest of the public interest (in theory, if not in practice), social media companies do not.
Instead, he asserted that such businesses are motivated by doing whatever is profitable, or whatever will keep them from being the source of controversy in the public eye.
He asked the important question; “do we want the most important speech platforms” currently in use in the world to be doing whatever they can to avoid controversy, even if that means banning speech on ill-defined claims of it being ‘hateful’ in nature?
President Donald Trump has also weighed in on the Jones banning, saying that he has concerns, and that it would be “dangerous” for Facebook and Twitter to be able to limit who could and couldn’t speak on their platforms.
To make it worse, some social media platforms have attempted to expand policies to ‘fake news,’ yet another ill-defined and ambiguous term.
Social media companies are, of course, private organizations, and they are free to operate as they please. However, so often, it seems that they are operating in an openly biased way, often biased against conservative speech.
Moreover, many have morphed into massive communications platforms, and some people believe that as such, they should be regulated and subject to the same ‘equal opportunity’ laws that control other such enterprise.
Jeong, an Asian-American and a liberal/progressive, recently received a job at the New York Times, when numerous internet sleuths found that she had a long history of saying extremely racist things about white people on her Twitter page.
Jeong had not been punished for it, and the NYT even made excuses for the things she wrote.
Candace Owens, an African-American and a conservative, decided to rewrite Jeong’s tweets, replace ‘white’ people with ‘black’ people. Owens was suspended by Twitter within hours, though the company reinstated her after an uproar began, and made claims that the action taken was ‘in error.’
Furthermore, who knows how far the auspices of ‘hate speech’ will reach? How much speech will be brought under the heel of the new leftist codes before the only people left on these social media sites are the hard-leftists?
A number of people think that social media sites either need to come up with well-defined ‘hate speech’ standards, which they apply evenly to all sides of politics, or they need to abandon the arbitrary standard.