Refusing to Amplify is not Censorship

Recently Twitter made the decision to tag some of President Trump’s tweets as incorrect and limit distribution of them. Facebook decided the same content was fine. I’m going to skip over the actual decision here for a moment, and address the matter of calling this censorship. These platforms are not censoring, they are deciding to not amplify, and there is a big difference.

YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are all for-profit public companies. They have as much obligation to carry your message as the Mall of America has to allow you to protest inside of it, which is none. Their Terms of Service are controlled by them and they can do whatever they want, including change their Terms of Service. But these companies are not the only ways to publish content on the Internet. Their refusal to do anything with your content is not censorship!

You have every right to create your own website, and put those messages on it. The Internet is wide open for that, and it costs very little to nothing. There is nothing keeping those millions of people on Facebook from getting your message on your site. It’s just laziness on all sides to want to put it all through these platforms. To be spoon fed and manipulated by algorithmic newsfeeds. But that laziness comes with a tradeoff of control. You cannot, and should not, expect to control that message. Probably the control of your message will drive with whatever makes the most money for the platform. It is absolutely not driven by importance, or truth, or value.

Many social platforms have tried to position themselves as “the commons” and talk about things like Freedom of Speech. This is all a bunch of nonsense, and frankly it has tied them in knots that make no sense for private companies to solve. If you want to get your message out, own your site, publish it. It has never been easier to do that. Need an audience? Earn it. Build it.

Nobody, not you, me, or anyone else have a right to amplification, and none of us is being censored.

Jamie Thingelstad @jthingelstad

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