Currently, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube apply heavy handed censorship to user created content.
Twitter, and Youtube, have both sanctioned, even shut down accounts – of professionally qualified individuals who express viewpoints or asked questions of official government guidance, particularly with regards to Covid-19. They have terminated accounts of doctoral qualified professors who shared peer reviewed papers online – the content of which did not agree with the current guidance of CDC or WHO. This is, in fact, how science knowledge evolves.
Many users were cut off permanently for saying things a year or two ago that have since been established as facts. They were not wrong; the government was wrong. But the social media companies will not re-instate previously banned users.
How Content Moderation Ought to Work
Social media companies should provide you, the content viewer, with multiple options to handle content moderation. You should be in charge, not them.
- You elect to have no content moderation and use your brain to think for yourself about the content.
- You optionally elect to have the social media company moderate your news feed, to remove items they consider harmful.
- You optionally elect to outsource content moderation to a third party – this could be a business that conducts its own assessment and content moderation.
- With either of the above two options, you may have a range of settings – moderate content related to vaccines but do not moderate content related to the spread of Covid-19 specifically. Or, elect to moderate content regarding some politicians.
- A third-party content moderation group could even be crowdsourced from identified volunteers who flag items. You, the viewer, select the group you would like to do the moderation.
Content moderation should be in your control, not Mark Zuckerberg’s control.
FB, Twitter and Youtube have acted as censors by proxy for the US government, to get around the First Amendment which prohibits the government from regulating speech. Censorship by proxy is also unconstitutional. We have, during this period, entered into an Orwellian speech control regime – where it appears government officers have shut down speech via proxy – to enable only officially approved government statements. This is no different than what goes on in China or Russia, and which our government routinely condemns as wrong.