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Reblogged:Tech Giants Shoot Selves in Feet

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Steve Malanga of City Journal writes about several alternative content platforms that are thriving in part due to the biased and ham-handed content moderation policies of such platforms as Facebook and YouTube.

My primary criticism of the piece is that Malanga perpetuates the common and dangerous error of calling those corporate missteps censorship. Not only would Ayn Rand beg to differ, Tara Smith, an Objectivist philosopher, has warned that such sloppiness risks normalizing actual censorship:
Image by Roman Martyniuk, via Unsplash, license.
The danger, in short, is the normalization of censorship. Whether or not that term is used, this is what takes place under a bloated conception of "freedom" of speech and under the latitude granted by the rejection of absolutes and the embrace of exceptions. Such normalization is not simply a far-off possibility. It occurs already. When an FCC Chair declares that, "there is censorship by ratings, by advertisers," conveniently excusing unwarranted government restrictions by effectively pleading, "don't object to the government for censoring -- we all censor, it's all the same," this is normalizing. When a Wall Street Journal columnist criticizes Google and Facebook for "excessive censorship," implying that some censorship would be fine, this is normalizing. [notes omitted] (p. 81)
I'll accept the risk of sounding long-winded in the face of this grave danger.

With that out of the way, the story of a platform I'd never heard of -- and that existed before this became an issue -- was quite instructive:
... Founded in 2013 by Canadian tech entrepreneur Chris Pavlovski to help “the little guys” stand out in a crowded market dominated by YouTube, Rumble had a modest online presence until late 2020, when it began attracting conservative voices who had experienced YouTube censorship. In just ten months, Rumble’s online viewership has increased 25-fold. The company has attracted funding from prominent venture capitalists and recently completed a series of deals to bring such outspoken voices as Greenwald, Gabbard, and Joe Rogan to the platform. [bold added]
If there were anything I wish modern-day conservatives would do -- after learning the difference between censorship and the right of a company to withdraw access to its own platform -- it would be to note how effective the market is at solving the problems caused by platforms implementing stupid policies, like suppressing non-leftist voices.

Rather than regulate "Big Tech" or subject it to the non-objective "law" of antitrust, conservatives should fight to protect freedom of speech and property rights. With those taken care of, there will always be platforms for those of us with unconventional opinions.

-- CAV

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