In a week in which our nation is wondering how to stop hateful speech online, Dennis Prager (“Don’t Let Google Get Away With Censorship,” op-ed, Aug. 7) complains about platforms applying their community standards when filtering videos and other content created by users.
Mr. Prager’s complaint, “Our videos are restricted only because they are conservative,” is an accusation that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
As the U.S. and China wrestle over tariffs, public attention naturally focuses on manufacturing. But for years manufacturing’s share of global trade has been shrinking, while trade in services has been growing. The economy of the future will be leveraged on the exchange of knowledge and intellectual property. This should make commercial services sold via the internet central to any new U.S. trade agreements.
The 2020 election will be tight and every vote counts. So it’s surprising to see Democratic candidates making calls to regulate free speech and online platforms — policy proposals that Americans overwhelmingly oppose, and policies that could cost Democrats the White House.
This year some Democrats are calling to make it harder for online services to host our comments and pictures. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has even gone so far as to say that America’s most successful tech companies should be broken up.
Unless you follow tech policy debates, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is a bit of an old, unheard-of law. But now it’s one worth talking about, especially since it has recently been brandished as a “handout to big tech” by the likes of Senators Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who are trying to get rid of it altogether.
Other famous conservatives, including firebrands Tucker Carlson and Charlie Kirk, seem to agree. But removing Section 230 wouldn’t be very conservative at all — it would only extend the presence of government into places it doesn’t belong. Nevertheless, it seems these many conservatives are digging in their heels because they want Section 230 to sound like evil corporate welfare for some of America’s greediest monopolies. As it turns out, it really isn’t.
Throughout history, established interests worry whenever more power is given to the people. When Guttenberg unveiled the printing press it empowered “commoners” with a new way to disseminate information and ideas. Of course the Crown and Church worried about their loss of control which ultimately led to new religions and emerging democracies.
Social media is the modern-day printing press. Empowering people across the world to challenge the established powers that be. We wouldn’t have had movements like the Arab Spring, Occupy, MeToo, BlackLivesMatter, Haiti relief, or even the Ice Bucket Challenge were it not for social media connecting citizens.
“Deepfakes” is the latest scary buzz word circling Capitol Hill. It’s basically a fake video made to look real.
But “deepfakes” is really just a new word for “photoshopping” of digital images. It can be putting a face on someone else’s body with the intent to deceive, or it might be an obvious attempt at satire (like John Snow apologizing for Season 8 of Game of Thrones).
Content moderation is how online platforms like Facebook and Twitter have a safe place for their users to create, share, and consume news and views. Some online platforms moderate extreme political content so their users doesn’t see white supremacist content next to family photos and cat videos.
But Sen. Hawley’s “Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act,” would force online platforms to host politically extreme content that most of us would prefer to avoid online, such as views and videos produced by the KKK.