Is it Facebook's job to uphold free speech? | The Tylt
Is it Facebook's job to uphold free speech?
Facebook temporarily prevented Palestinian journalists from accessing their Facebook pages. Critics say this act happened because of Facebook's partnership with Israel to monitor and take down posts that incite violence. However, partnerships like these means Facebook is making editorial decisions about content. While the program targets posts which incite violence, the lines quickly blur.
Supporters argue Facebook is a private company and does not bear any responsibility to uphold free speech. Facebook can, and should, be able to choose what goes on its platform and what doesn't. If people don't like it, they can go somewhere else.
The mistake is to think that media platforms are a true public square, where (in the U.S.) the government can't regulate based on conduct unless it has a very, very strong reason to do so. They aren’t, no matter how cleverly they may initially have presented themselves as neutral platforms for everybody’s speech. These companies agreed to adopt self-censorship because they judge that it’s in their interest to do so -- that is, in the interests of their shareholders.