Professional conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was recently removed from just about every social media platform in existence, including LinkedIn, but not Twitter.
Alex Jones is disgusting. He’s a 9/11 Truther, a Sandy Hook Truther, and a thousand other appalling things. Anyone who buys into his sickening brand of commentary is, by definition, a garbage person. *
But is his ouster from these social media platforms a free speech issue?
The easy response is that Instagram and YouTube and iTunes are private companies and can kick off anyone they want to. They’re not public utilities, but they’re being run like public utilities. On the other hand, by limiting content, they’re edging into publisher territory. So are they utilities or are they publishers? If a publisher declines to print your manuscript, is the publisher silencing you?
That’s the high-minded stuff. The theory. Let’s talk about practice.
In reality, Silicon Valley is a hive-mind of far-left progressive ideology from Google on down to Snapchat and beyond. This is inarguable, even if you find it troubling. The big tech companies loathe and contemn everyone who isn’t a progressive; it’s what animates them over profits. If you don’t enthusiastically toe the leftist line, they wish you’d just go away and die already. Alex Jones was a trial balloon. They’ll move on to normal people soon.
So what can you do?
You can opt out, of course. That’s one choice. One of the best things I ever did for myself was quitting Facebook, and I encourage all other normal people to do the same. Void the field. Let the progressives have the social media platforms they built. This is preferable to the death of a thousand cuts they have in store for us.
The better choice is to treat them like Ma Bell and regulate the living shit out of them so they can’t just arbitrarily decide that you’re an unperson who spews hate speech. I’m a firm believer in free markets, but support of a free market, like support of the U.S. Constitution, isn’t a suicide pact. As long as these bizarre, anti-Western progressive panjandrums are bound and determined to de-platform everyone who isn’t a bizarre, anti-Western progressive, let them feel the wrath of normal people. It’s not a free market when one side has its thumb on the scale. They’re fighting dirty, so we have to fight just as dirty. Confound them with regulation after regulation. Put their arbitrary, hostile business model in jeopardy. Make them testify in front of Congress again and again and again and make them vomit up their dishonesty before the voting public. Progressives love regulating business, the environment, education, and everything else under or above the sun, so choke them with social media regulation until they can’t breathe.
If we have to bake that cake, you’ve got to let Alex Jones spew his stupid crap on Facebook. Regulate, regulate, regulate.
*What’s amazing is that Jones, as loathsome as he is, is no different from Rachel Maddow, who works for NBC. Why aren’t social media companies going after Maddow? She promulgates moronic, offensive conspiracy bullshit to unthinking drones every day herself. **
**You know the answer to that.