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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Thank You, Mr. Stossel

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In a recent column, John Stossel, discusses "The Creepy Line," a conservative documentary about leftist bias in social media companies. Fortuitously, he has his own war story of social media "censorship," which should serve as a lesson to anyone concerned about this problem. Stossel's war story comes to the following successful conclusion:

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Image via Wikimedia.
We asked Google and Facebook to reply to accusations of censorship made by "The Creepy Line" and to explain why YouTube restricted my anti-socialism video but allows other videos that include violence. So far, they haven't replied to questions about bias, but right before this column's deadline, Google emailed us saying they will remove the age restriction on my video. Good. [bold added]
Contrast Stossel's response to what too many conservatives wrongly call "censorship" to the solution proposed by the film's writer, Peter Schweizer. Schweizer wants to address this problem by "[putting] them under the same shackles as other media companies."

Stossel correctly notes that this would place innovation in social media into the hands of bureaucrats. But that's not all it would do.  Schweizer and others are wrong to use the term censorship -- something only governments can do -- to refer to one company's wrongheaded exercise of its property rights. By doing so, he is providing an excuse to deny those property rights and effectively impose actual censorship à la the old Fairness Doctrine on us all -- not to mention opening up the possibility of government bureaucrats serving as (actual) censors. This is a cure far worse than the disease.

Many thanks to John Stossel for helping indicate the danger of conservative calls to regulate social media, and for demonstrating the proper way to respond: By publicly calling out such companies, while also standing up for free markets and freedom of speech.

-- CAV

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