I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter, recently, from the conservative bubble about how they’ve lost their “freedom of speech.” As usual, it’s bunk. What IS being challenged is the freedom to lie. The people who have been banned from various sites are usually warned that their lies are going to lead to bans. THEN, they GET banned because they insisted on continuing the lies. Then they pretend the real issue is someone has infringed on their “freedumb of speech.” I’m a big fan of the First Amendment. That’s the one that contains the freedom of speech clause. But I ALSO know the danger to allowing unfettered disinformation out into the body politic because a democracy (or, in this case, a Republic) depends heavily on a knowledgeable electorate.
The obvious problem is “errors” (intentional or otherwise) in judgment regarding what is truth and what is not. Remember Hunter Biden’s laptop? The right was all over that from early on. The left didn’t pay much attention because there didn’t seem to be any “there” there. Turns out there was. I wonder how many people got in trouble with social media police for pushing a story that turned out to be true. But just because someone dropped the ball on the Hunter laptop doesn’t mean the 2020 “election” was stolen. There really ARE pure lies out there, undermining our society second by second.
When people with ill-intent began to turn the First Amendment against Americans, I found myself in a quandary. As an example, did you know that the Cato Institute was founded by the Koch brothers for the specific purpose of spreading disinformation about climate change? Yes, by all means, the First Amendment. But when one’s freedom of speech gets perverted and twisted into freedom to lie, freedom to undermine society, freedom to disseminate disinformation and misinformation, and even freedom to endanger all of humanity? Well, I’m all for flags on social media posts and when the corrupt pattern is continually repeated by the same characters, I’m okay with banning them.
Elon Musk has had several run-ins with Twitter over the years on the topic and has become, apparently, tired of the fight. So he says he’s going to buy Twitter and open it up as a true free speech zone. Let’s assume for the moment that he actually follows through with the purchase and pursues his dream of a site fully free of oversight on what people post. You know what he’ll get? First, a site so rife with falsehoods and misinformation it won’t be worth any thinking person’s time. but shortly thereafter on his open space? Porn. Someone, somewhere will test the waters by posting a lovely photo of a woman’s bare chest. If that goes unanswered, it will take off from there and before too long, porn will be the mainstay of Twitter.
It’s not theoretical. There is a site called ‘Tumblr.’ It was designed for photo blogging, that sort of thing. It had a hands-off policy. Before long, Tumblr was known primarily for all the adult fare that could be found there. Over time, that pushes out others who want to use the site for something else and then it hurts ad revenue as fewer and fewer advertisers are willing to associate themselves with a porn site. Tumblr finally decided to police people’s “free speech” and do away with most of the adult stuff. Tumblr is still there but the presence isn’t the same. They’re not the only site, either. There’s one called ‘OnlyFans.’ It was designed as a video site where people could show off their talents. Like, say, juggling. Viewers pay a subscription fee to watch you juggle and presumably, learn a few new tricks and techniques. OnlyFans, too, had a laissez-faire attitude. So, ladies who work in the sex trade started using the site to showcase their…um…”talents.” Now, from my understanding, it’s pretty much adult titillation and private sex shows. At one point, the company publicly considered shutting the adult stuff down but decided against. Now it’s their main identity.
So I hope Elon DOES open up Twitter. We’ll all get to watch the self-described “business genius” turn $44 BILLION dollars into dust…