Nexus of Corporate Oppression : Is Freedom of Speech Lost?

Over the last week, there have been some actions that should have every American concerned. Regardless of whether you are left or right-leaning, if you enjoy your freedom you need to read on.

Freedom of Speech Lost?

Over the last few days, a trio of corporate entities was able to entirely dismantle and shut down a conservative social media platform known as Parler. In effect, these actions stifled the voice of 10 million users. Whether you care for the platform, the conversations being had on it, or about politics at all is beside the point. The terrifying point here is that a collective of private businesses just oppressed a good number of American’s Freedom of Speech.

Freedom of Speech is the cornerstone of a free society. It is through our expression of ideas that we can affect change, identify oppression, and voice our support of a cause. It is so closely related to our freedom that the founding fathers found it appropriate to place it first in the Constitution. It is often stated that Freedom of Speech was placed as the first amendment due to being the most important and freedom to bear arms was placed second to protect the first. Urban lore aside there is nothing to dispute about the importance of preserving our right to expression. Yet here we are.

Oppression of Parler

So what exactly happened? Over the last few days, three corporate giants decided to completely dismantle the conservative platform. The basis for their actions, in short, they claimed in various statements that the platform violated their policies and allowed hateful rhetoric and misinformation. As such both Google and Apple removed the App from their respective stores and Amazon (AWS) which hosted the entire site on their serves pulled the site down completely. This is a shocking display of collective censorship at a level that is startling.

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Hate Speech, Offensive Speech, Policies

The avenue these corporations used to accomplish this is that of enforcing policy and preventing hate speech. On the surface that may seem like a valid argument. I actually used to somewhat side with the private organization’s ability to enforce policies, after all, I’m against the government over each and once we start allowing the government to regulate private companies further we continue down a slippery slope. Where I changed my position was at the recognition that these platforms are essentially a space provided to exercise communication. A tangible example of this would be a privately owned toll booth on a public road. These entities do not own cyberspace, but they certainly own the servers and such used to provide their service. A private toll booth would not be allowed to openly discriminate against any given group by forbidding their travel across, nor should these companies be allowed to do so. Would it be acceptable for a major phone network to censor your text messages? Of course not. When you are a company that facilitates a public platform you lose some of the discriminatory leeways you may otherwise be entitled to in a more niche industry.

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It’s Policy, not Oppression!

Is it really? No. I’m not against a company being allowed to exercise a certain level of policy even in the case of social media platforms, but it must be uniformly applied across the board and this is where their case is exposed for the act of oppression that it is. One intentionally quelling the voice of conservatives. All you have to do to validate this is look at what is and has been allowed to continually operate under these corporations’ services. There are numerous hateful platforms, pedophile groups, and more that are not a risk of being dismantled yet Parler was? It’s not really about policy, but rather policing. Policing up dissent from their chosen agenda.

I’m glad they shut it down

Another important note here is that it doesn’t matter whether you agree with the voice being oppressed or not. This is a problem I see all too often from both sides of the aisle. When your side suffers oppression you become enraged yet excited when it’s the other guys. I understand the inclination for such emotion but it is important to keep those in check and think through it logically. Look at it from an overall action perspective and imagine if the tide were headed the other way. Because eventually it will and you’ll reap what you sew. This is a continual point of hypocrisy on both sides of most topics and unless we learn to put Freedom first we will all lose in the end.

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What do we do to maintain our Freedom of Speech?

I believe it is critical that we do not sit idly by and simply let this go unchallenged. This is huge and has the potential to establish an oppressive standard for the courts moving forward as a precedent against the citizen’s ability to exercise their Freedom of Speech. This combined with the blatant censorship on the Social medial giants recently should have every citizen very concerned. It is imperative that we as freedom-loving citizens collectively (likely through class action lawsuits ) take every one of these instances into the court and continually voice our dissent against such practices. If we do not fight hard in the courts now we will continue down a slope of massive censorship and lose our voice for good.

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