Do most of us even understand them?
A common complaint today is that one or another social media platform have banned someone because they, in some way, violated platform standards of conduct. At least, that’s the allegation; but I have to ask: Um … so?
Perhaps it is true that social media standards are draconian, and they may even be politically biased. We may not like these so-called standards, but there is another argument. Given what we know about human behavior on social media, some of which is out-right cowardly and vulgar, most of which we would never tolerate from anyone in person, and some of which is clearly dangerous to public safety, what is wrong with an attempt by social media to enforce well-mannered and lawful dialogue?
Hasn’t it been true in the past that terrorists have used social media to communicate their plans and aspirations? Aren’t there predators on these platforms, people who bully and harass others? Aren’t there some people who are unable to construct simple sentences without using the “F-bomb”? I’m trying to imagine how many of us would host an afternoon party at our homes and then put up with such nonsense from one of our guests. Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t put up with it more than a nanosecond.
Beyond this, there is the inane argument that social platforms are denying its clients their first amendment right to self-expression (no matter how inappropriate those expressions may be). Well, a short review of the First Amendment is in order. The Constitution and its amendments only apply to government’s behavior toward us … it does not protect behavior between private persons.
In other words, there is no right to free speech when someone is standing in our living rooms making an ass of him or herself —and should I toss an offensive person out the door, they have no right to have me arrested, or drag me into a civil court, for doing so. I’m thinking we ought to stop using the “first amendment” argument: it is silly.
I often wonder if social media platforms aren’t part of the reason our society has become so fractured—so, my final argument, allowing that Facebook or Twitter is not a government entity, is that if people are offended because social media restricts their speech or behavior, they can always cancel their accounts—which, as best as I can tell offers us access to their platforms free of charge. We do have choices, right? We could, for example, reduce our profanity, curtail the tendency to be rude or obnoxious to people we have never even met, and we could seek ways of expressing our political proclivities other than shouting at one another.
What say you?