Social Networks Start Shutting Down Right-Wing Accounts, Are they Right?

Let me make a distinction here, between what the “right” thing to do for a social media company would be, and what they are within their rights to do.

I am on record as saying I am for more free speech, almost always. Because I want stupid, dangerous people to be as public as they can be with their beliefs. That way we know who they are, and what they are planning. (What happened on Jan 6 is a prime example, it was clear from social media that violence was being planned, and there was massive failure to recognize that. I hope that is corrected before the 20th, in and outside of DC, because it’s obvious they aren’t finished.)

So, when Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc started suspending accounts, and Google pulled AWS hosting for Parler, it concerns me because we aren’t going to watch the dangerous fringe plan their activities the way we have been able to. (A nod here to the fact that inciting violence, threats and harassment are not actually legal speech under all circumstances.)

On the other hand, are all of these companies within their rights to do exactly what they are doing? Of course. They aren’t the government, they are private companies, and surely Conservatives are not now arguing that the government should decide what speech private companies have to allow and which they can’t, are you? Or that you are now forcing companies to do business with anyone, regardless of their believes? You’ve certainly argued the opposite of that for years. What’s changed?

Doesn’t that fly in the face of one of Conservatives favorite Supreme Court findings, the Citizen’s United decision, which granted free speech rights to corporations?

You don’t get to have it both ways, either private companies and organizations are allowed to make their own decisions about speech, or they aren’t. But if they aren’t, you might not like where that leads.

Tangentially, are we “right” to call out people who were at the rally, or boycott companies who’s CEOs were at the rally?

Again, in general, I’m not OK with doxxing private people for who they voted for, or even who they support. Personally, if you voted for Trump because you couldn’t stand voting for Biden/Harris and what they stand for, that’s your business.

And if you went to DC expecting a peaceful protest, well, I don’t know what to tell you, because you clearly weren’t paying attention to the very people who told you to be there. They were clearly there promoting violence.

But, even if all of that was true, when you got there the morning of Jan. 6 and looked around, surely you noticed the Confederate flags, Nazi and white supremacist symbolism, the “Civil War – Jan 6, 2020” shirts and signs, the guillotine and noose, the calls for hanging of public officials, and surely you heard the chanting and yelling calling for the death of Mike Pence, etc.

you found yourself in the middle of that, and what did you do? Did you say to yourself “Whoa, I support Trump but not this mess”? Nope, you took a selfie and talked about being among the “Patriots”.

So excuse me if I assume you are in support of violence, and probably have racist tendencies even if you didn’t, personally, storm the Capitol. And excuse me if you get called out for that, and find that a lot of people are not comfortable doing business with you any longer. After all, what you’ve shown is, at the very least, a lack of awareness of what was happening around you, a willingness to believe conspiracy theories with no proof, an unwillingness to distance yourself from violent radicals, and a serious lack of judgment by continuing to defend what happened, and the people that caused it to happen. Those are hardly great professional qualities.

Let alone the folks who continue to defend this, and defend conspiracy theories, on LinkedIn, self-identifying as lacking good judgment. If your company decides they don’t want you around, again, that’s not censorship or cancel culture, that’s people and companies deciding who they want to work with. Which used to be exactly what Conservative Republicans wanted.


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