The Case for Internet Free Speech

by Christina Anne McLaughlin

Free speech, the foundation the free exchange of ideas was built upon. The ability to be able to share your idea with another person, without fear of punishment. This is a core value to anyone who holds classical liberal views. And the internet was made to be the 21st century new frontier of access, where it’s up to you, the viewer, to decide what you wanted to consume, where you have the freedom to make your own choices, as you saw fit.

That was the internet at the turn of the millenium. Now, a decade and a half later, monopolies on public discourse have arisen in the form of the social media giants. These companies have grown so large, and command such a vast number of users, that it’s almost impossible for the average internet user to name a rival that isn’t Twitter, Facebook, and Google. These companies coming together to ban a group of people because of the ideas they espouse is absolutely a violation of their basic human rights.

“But what about the company’s right to denial of service?” This question took me a lot of time to reconcile. I feel that making parallels to the NFL players here is fitting for my argument. I will start very bluntly: the NFL players do not have the right to use the NFL as a platform for their protest. The NFL’s sole existence is to promote football and football related content. That is the exclusive product that the NFL “publishes.”  Social media, on the other hand, is not a publisher of content. Social media does not create any of the content that is shared on its platform.  Social media is an open public forum where people come to share their ideas. The social media companies, by deleting and banning people, are then saying we own your speech, this is content we created, and this is content that we choose for you not to see, and in the process, simultaneously violating that persons right to free speech, as well as the freedom for you to be able to make that choice for yourself. They’re creating a closed market of pre-approved ideas, selected for you.

Social media has had an answer for someone who wishes not to view a certain kind of content: it’s called blocking someone. Because you also are not obligated to view anyone’s speech. For true freedom to exist, the option must be there for you to choose not to view the content. We need a Social media bill of rights that not only protects your ability to share your idea, but the ideas of Alex Jones, Gavin Mcinnes, TJ Kirk, and others like them. Their right to speak is also your right to speak.  Everyone must have the right to individually express themselves through their social media platforms. Otherwise, we allow a few powerful companies to control what we think. Turning us, ideologically, into one mind. No longer a free people, but mental slaves to the newspeak of the inner social media elites. 

There is one thing we as a free people must never come to accept, and that’s the destruction of words being recognized as a beautiful thing. For if society reaches that point, then the Marxists have already won.