Facebook finds itself once again back in the news. The New York Times has accused the social media giant of not doing enough to combat hate speech and foreign influence in American elections. Facebook for its part denies the report and says it is getting better.
Now there are growing calls from the left to regulate Facebook in order to force them to crack down on hate speech.
From The Hill: (bold emphasis mine)
Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline (D) sharply criticized tech giant Facebook on Twitter on Wednesday evening, arguing that the social media company can’t be trusted any longer to regulate itself.
In a series of tweets, the lawmaker ripped into Facebook executives over a New York Times report detailing how the company used a Republican opposition research firm to link public detractors of the company to billionaire Democratic donor George Soros amid criticism of Facebook for its use by Russian operatives to influence Americans during the 2016 election. The report was based mainly on anonymous, insider accounts.“We’ve known for some time that @Facebook chose to turn a blind eye to the spread of hate speech and Russian propaganda on its platform,” Cicilline wrote Wednesday night.
“Now we know that once they knew the truth, top @Facebook executives did everything they could to hide it from the public by using a playbook of suppressing opposition and propagating conspiracy theories,” he added. “It is long past time for us to take action.”
Congressman Cicilline is not the only one calling for regulation (ie. censorship, nearly always targeted against the right) of social media. Here’s a Washington Post op-ed by Nina Jankowicz, who is billed as a “Russian disinformation” expert, calling for regulation of Facebook. (again bold emphasis mine)
Though it’s unlikely social media regulations originating in the House will pass the Senate, Democrats should not underestimate the power of their oversight privileges or the effects of well-intentioned bills, even those that languish in committee. The Honest Ads Act, stuck in just such a limbo, has created public demand for transparency and changed how social media companies disclose online political advertising. The new Congress can help to sharpen our definition of concepts such as hate speech and discuss how platforms should treat false information. Lawmakers can also encourage platforms to help users understand the lengthy terms of service that govern the use of their platforms. More importantly, they can pressure the companies to actually enforce them, which they famously failed to do against Infowars.
The big thing standing in the problem of defining and punishing “hate speech” is the First Amendment. Congress pressuring Facebook to punish “hate speech” would arguably be a violation of the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of speech.
Already under the guise of “hate speech”, we have seen conservative and Christian speech punished on social media. Democrats and the rest of the Washington establishment now want to use Congress to force social media companies to censor more so-called “hate speech.” Gone from the public space would be discussions over issues from everything over religious doctrine to transgender rights.
This is a personal issue to us at The Hayride. I just got done serving a 3-day suspension last month for “hate speech” after posting the screencap of a leftist trashing white people without commentary so people would mock it. Our publisher just got done serving a 30-day suspension for “hate speech” after insulting Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
We already know what a crackdown on “hate speech” will be. It will be a crackdown on whatever political speech Democrats don’t like.