I don’t know how I feel about all this stuff going on on Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress. By “stuff,” I mean their efforts to basically monitor, regulate, and control free speech, the marketplace of ideas.
Uncomfortable, that’s how I feel. In case anyone wondered, yes indeed, how “I feel” is vitally important to the entire debate. You may laugh if you want, but if people would just make me Queen of the World, I could straighten all this out very quickly. I actually have feelings that are somewhat reliable, reason based. I say this because I think “feelings” really get a bad rap on the internet. There are many people who seem to believe that the fall in the Garden of Eden long ago impacted only our hearts and somehow left our reason quite intact.
So like, feelings are sin! Just be like me and learn to rational-lies your foolishness. Needless to say, I find that concept quite cray-cray.
What they are really objecting to is how arbitrary some people’s “rules” can be. That is very true, totally subjective and arbitrary. I’ve been observing these big techies just kind of arbitrarily shut down people based on their own preferences. Basically just policing thought, politics, culture, faith. It’s very frustrating if you’re a writer. They basically pick who gets to be seen and who does not. My Facebook feed is censored, my Twitter feed is censored, even my WP reader seems quite arbitrary sometimes.
Twitter is especially nutty as in comments are actually censored. I get comments on Twitter, I am actually not allowed to see. Like this person wants to say something to you, but we’re not going to allow you to see it. Can other people see it? Apparently so.
It kind of reminds me of God and the tower of Babel. God scrambled the languages, cut off our communication. God is good however, and His motivations are not arbitrary. He has His reasons and they are trustworthy. Also, He is God, right? I am not questioning God, but you better believe I am questioning the big techies who seem to think they are God.
That said, I don’t know how they are supposed to respond. This is totally uncharted territory. How do you address internet harassment? If you are in a restaurant and ten people complain about you, odds are pretty good you will be tossed out. But what if those ten people are complaining simply because they don’t like your maga hat? Something like that would make those ten people bullies, immoral. Traditionally businesses have always had the right to refuse to serve anybody they want. Not far from here there is restaurant with a big sign, “we do not serve people in dive suits.” That’s somewhat funny, but it’s a real issue, people all trampling in for a bite to eat in their dive suits. But what if it is something less obvious?
But I’ve also seen some really horrific stuff on the internet, stuff that just begs for some intervention. To not try to do something would actually be negligent. Things like posting child porn, sending death threats, forcing people to move out of their homes because you’ve doxxed their physical address and made them a target of abuse from random strangers.
Life would be a lot easier if people would just act like a grown up.
Then there is the more subtle hatred and that’s where things can get sketchy, subjective. Myself, I would rather endure things like blatant sexism, racism, hostility, then silence it. There’s something to be said for having that stuff right out in the sunlight where everyone can see it. Something like a person’s hatred does not simply vanish just because you’ve driven it into the shadows. In fact, repressed, that stuff can just get worse.
But then again, on my very own blog, I don’t necessarily want to give an unlimited platform to people who are just bashing my faith or hating on whole groups of people. I’m pretty open about discussion and debate, but there comes a point were I have to say, stop it already, you’ve crossed a line.
I honestly “don’t know.” How I feel is, “uncomfortable.” I’m a huge fan of free speech. I often feel like a bit of collateral damage myself, simply caught up in the censorship crossfire. Algorithms don’t operate on reason and fairness. They haven’t got feelings or morality.
I can say, I’ve never really seen anybody “banned for no reason.” Like every single one of them was promoting some pretty outrageous stuff and behaving poorly. What I do want is for people to understand that and for calmer heads to prevail. Like Alex Jones did not get blacklisted because people are afraid of his crazy conspiracy theories. There’s a lawsuit going on, there’s some actual victims of his hyping up the masses with hyperbole and hysteria. Our country has a long tradition of objecting to people screaming “fire” in a crowded theater that is not actually on fire and causing real people to get hurt.
So those are all my bad thoughts on the matter. What do you think?