We Should Applaud Facebook’s (Unwise) Censorship

by Mike Wendy on December 17, 2016

Press reports have it that in Facebook’s efforts to crack down on so-called “fake news,” the company will be outsourcing “fake news” “fact checking” (two loaded terms) to a consortium of mainstream news outlets led by the left-leaning Poynter institute.

That’s fine, even if it means that the real goal is to silence disruptive (i.e., conservative) voices, which many interpret this move to be.

If Facebook wants to police its brand by editing dissenting views, that’s its gig. It’s their property and communications platform; it should be able to do what it wants with it, not what government tells it to do.

Of course, one wonders how it can accomplish what it’s attempting to do without running afoul of protections which limit its liability for disseminating third-party content. But hey, that’s its problem. It’s got lawyers and lobbyists for that, right?

Is the censorship wise?

I don’t think so. I think it harms its brand by arbitrarily limiting information, something it proclaims it is against.

Is it hypocritical?

Yes.  The company has worked behind the scenes with teams of lobbyists to deny broadband providers the same ability to discriminate and curate their property though passage of President Obama’s Net Neutrality law.

Who cares.

I don’t have to use Facebook if it offends or fails to serve me. I can go elsewhere. It can be replaced.

Facebook should free to be to edit, curate, discriminate, and yes, even censor what’s trafficking over its own property. That freedom is what allows it (and, more broadly, others) to be different, unique. I’d rather Facebook does it – and ultimately let the marketplace make the call – than Uncle Sam.

Previous post:

Next post: