Another day, another headache for Mark Zuckerberg. Despite the Facebook boss’ public defense of free speech—which has drawn the Left’s ire—the company’s use of selective censorship is now undeniable and desperately needs to be addressed.
According to Facebook insider Zach McElroy, as many as 80 percent of the Facebook posts flagged for “civic harassment” lean Republican-conservative. Project Veritas recently chronicled numerous Facebook content moderators coming out as “anti-MAGA,” deleting right-of-center posts with no hesitation.
They’re not the only ones suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. In recent weeks, anti-Trump “Republicans” and left-wing activists have lambasted Zuckerberg’s free speech stance, namely because he happens to defend viewpoints they disagree with. Most recently, faux-Republican Joe Scarborough criticized Zuckerberg for “promoting extremism” on his platform. In Scarborough’s words: “Extreme” viewpoints (read: anything to the right of his own viewpoints) only “undermine American democracy.”
Apparently, “Morning Joe” doesn’t understand what American democracy is all about. Our political system is predicated upon the fundamental idea that the right to free speech—on all sides of the aisle—is universal. There are no exceptions.
The more speech we have, the more robust our political discussions and debates become. The more speech we have, the stronger our political system becomes. And for all the Social Justice Karen’s out there: No, hate speech is not an exception—it is precisely the speech you hate and want censored that is most protected.
De-platforming those we disagree with is the road to tyranny. The hallmark of our political system is debating and even disagreeing with others, but never denying their right to speak.
President Trump is being the grown-ups in a room, while the Scarborough’s of the world become little more than screaming Karen’s. By hitting back at online censorship, President Trump’s recent executive order on social media will only strengthen the First Amendment.
For too long, social media platforms like Twitter have favored certain types of speech over others. For too long, content on social media has been driven by Silicon Valley puppeteers, not the everyday users who create and engage with ideas in the first place. From deploying “fact-checks” of President Trump to flagging Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) condemnation of rioting and looting, Twitter is blue-checking the Left at the expense of conservative and libertarian ideas. That’s not being a platform; that’s being an editor.
His public comments aside, Zuckerberg needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror. In an unprecedented move, Facebook recently took down Trump campaign ads that represented “organized hate.” Zuckerberg’s platform is notorious for censoring right-leaning news outlets like the Western Journal. Exempting their left-leaning counterparts like BuzzFeed and HuffPost, Facebook essentially took the editorial position—expressed through weighted algorithms instead of red pens—that right-of-center viewpoints are of lesser value in the public forum.
This censorship is often driven by the ludicrous notion that speech is violence. Propagated for decades by left-wing academics and now reinforced by Silicon Valley power players and a host of screaming Karen’s, this way of thinking essentially justifies actually violent behavior to quell faux-violence in the form of ideas and words.
Speech is not violence just because the offended are thin-skinned. Violence is violence. Burning and looting small businesses is violence—actual, physical violence. Claiming speech is violence sets a dangerous precedent that can apply to independent thinkers on all sides of the political spectrum. The “enemy” may be a conservative or libertarian now, but the anti-speech Left always ends up eating its own. The lines of “acceptable” speech are drawn narrower by the day.
Just look at J.K. Rowling, a longtime liberal whose defense of left-wing feminism is now a “violent” threat to transgenderism. For the audacity of having inadequately “woke” thoughts, Rowling now stands the risk of cancellation. Those who would silence another today will come silence the rest tomorrow.
The only principled position is to defend free speech—no exceptions. The First Amendment is sacred, and should be treated as such. If disagreement is natural (newsflash: it is), then denying others a platform is antithetical to a functioning democratic system.
If you disagree with J.K. Rowling, then hear her out and make a case to the contrary. If you oppose President Trump or Mark Zuckerberg, then speak out. That is your right. So is not listening. But using social media or any other platform to censor others is not a right—and it is anti-American.
From the far-left to the far-right, we all have a right to free speech.
Social media is a powerful platform for political speech, but only if it is all-inclusive. Otherwise, it becomes a hammer with which the Left can bludgeon the rest of us.
Dan Backer (@DanBackerEsq) is a veteran campaign counsel, having served more than 100 candidates, PACs, and political organizations. He is founding attorney of political.law, a campaign finance and political law firm in Alexandria, Virginia.