Tuesday, August 7, 2018

On private censorship: social media sites are like printers, not publishers

A popular argument in support of social media censorship is that publishers aren’t obliged to publish anyone who submits to them. Which is true. It’s why you can run your social media site as you please and block anyone you please. “My site, my rules” applies to all publishers.

But social media sites are not publishers. They’re publishing platforms. We, the users, are the publishers. The social media sites are the presses that we use to publish our work and that of people we want to share with our followers.

Responding to someone who claimed that people who were banned from social media still had free speech because they could speak elsewhere, Frankie Gaffney said,
Social media sites are technologies, even in their particularities, since the monopolies are so absolute (eg twitter, facebook, YouTube). The comparison would be, when the printing press was invented, to tell someone they alone may not print their ideas, but they still had free speech.