Our Very Fragile Freedom of Speech

As we go through life in our modern context, we think we know everything. We believe that since we can post on our Facebook page or shout out to Twitter, that we have free speech. Moreover, we think that makes us the most important citizen base in history, because we can say whatever the fuck we want, right?

Apparently not. See, the problem is that when you post something that isn’t real, but seems real (looks real, sounds real),  some people will run with it. This phenomenon has become known as “fake news,” a term made famous* by now President Donald Trump, and was used to specifically describe news stories coming from CNN. It is quite probably the reason our national political process has been so fucky. So what do we do about it?

China has been generally censoring the internet since its inception. I know this because I have been given the information, on the internet (as well as on the TV news). The Chinese internet won’t let you talk about Tienanmen Square, democracy, how bad communism is, or dong length.

But we don’t have that problem here in America, right? Well…

Twitter agreed to ban all political ads for the 2020 election. That’s probably a good thing, as we are all a little sick and tired of partisan electoral bullshit (well, I am, anyway). The only thing is, what is considered a political ad and who gets to decide what tweets are political ads?

Facebook will take down anything it considers “hate speech.” Again, a really good thing, but what is considered hate speech and who gets to decide?

There are things that you should not say. Calling for violence against anybody (even Nazis) is out of line. Telling everyone on your Facebook page that you want Donald Trump to win shouldn’t be considered hate speech, but maybe that’s where we’re at now.

Fake news is the latest thing to be targeted by those who want censorship. The reason being is that relatively intelligent people get this disinformation and take life-altering actions because of it. I can’t imagine buying a Ford because I saw in a CNN interview that Russian oligarch’s drive Chevy’s, but I digress.

So where will this idiocy end? Will we find ourselves in a draconian society where any communication we have with anyone will have to include our cheers for the glorious leadership of Twitter? I certainly hope not.

But what do I know?

*I found in my research of Wikipedia that the term actually dates back to the late 1800s.