The Social Media Fairness Trap

A direct copy/paste from Lamb’s Reign

As much as I disagree with the politics of Twitter and Facebook, and no matter other secondary issues surrounding this question (like tax subsidies for Big Tech and so on), their right to censor their own platform and their right to dissociate with people they deem undesirable is a genuine First Amendment issue. Private companies self regulating, even in a way I don’t like, is not a First Amendment issue. They may be biased, inconsistent, and maybe even violating their own terms of service, but it’s not a First Amendment issue. However, the government deciding that private companies can’t regulate the usage of their product is absolutely a First Amendment issue. 

This is the same principle behind not being forced to bake a LGBT wedding cake. It’s the same principle behind Christian colleges having moral standards for admission and employment. There’s differences, of course, but it’s the same core idea. In other words, tread carefully. This one really matters.

[…]

I get the desire to limit the harm that left-owned social media platforms can cause by stifling political speech. I really do. But this is not a new economic conundrum. Our nation has gone through similar “problems” with the railroad industry, American steel, oil, car manufacturers, and more. These industries were seemingly too powerful, so the government stepped in. The interventions to “help” the market and to bring “fairness” to the market didn’t help in the long run. These interventions almost always help the large companies even more. Too often these regulation bills were literally written by the lawyers of the companies they were intended to regulate. It will never be a real, organic, market based competition. 

A real “fix” for the Twitter/Facebook problem (and I do think it’s a problem) is to abolish intellectual property (or at least dramatically reform IP law), quit subsidizing these companies, deregulate the telecommunications market, and level the playing field. Don’t just give lip service to competition, but lower the market barrier of entry so that real competition can develop. 

The fix isn’t to slap an additional regulation on the social media market. It’s tempting because that “fix” (which isn’t really a fix at all) is far more likely to happen than fixing the problems that actually created the current situation. 

[…]

As far as social media censorship goes, I think things will get worse before it gets better. However, things can get a lot worse if we crawl to Caesar in DC and ask him to to “pretty please take more power”. No matter how good that solution may seem now, it’ll come back to haunt us. Don’t take the cheese. It’s a trap. 

The Social Media Fairness Trap by John Reasnor

Serious food for thought, here.

Think before you cry out for Masters to Save You…
…the help they offer always comes with a nasty price tag.

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