Censoring Free Speech
We want to take the opportunity to talk about free speech and censoring access to information because it seems like we are on a dangerous precipice.
Media theorists mostly agree that defending free speech means defending speech you don’t like just as much as defending speech you do. If you believe John Milton, then the marketplace of ideas must be kept open because “in a free and open encounter,” truth will prevail.
But Milton never had to contend with the algorithm of big tech that decides what you see, read, hear and share.
DuckDuckGo, the search engine beloved by those who oppose Google’s ranked search results, now says that it will down-rank pro-Russia information. Facebook is doing the same and will now allow posts that call for violence on Russian leaders even though these are “forms of political expression that would normally violate [their] rules.”
In Australia, the government has sanctioned some citizens for expressing pro-Russian sentiment. This is a free country sanctioning people with ideas that the government does not like! And what are those ideas? That certain areas of Ukraine are pro-Russian.
If you believe in free speech, you should be bothered by this. Even if you only support pro-Ukraine speech and sentiment, you should want to know what is kept from you too.