One Reason for Social Media Sites to Avoid Censorship

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other popular websites are being pressured to censor “undesirable” content (what qualifies as undesirable content differs from person to person). Proponents of censorship believe that some content (which seems to always been content that disagrees with their worldview) is far too dangerous to allow to be posted. Most of the large social media sites have responded to this pressure by implementing some kind of (usually half-assed) censorship system. What has been the result? The proponents bitch that the censorship isn’t severe enough:

Last week, Facebook invited some media outlets to an event to hear what the company plans on doing about misinformation disseminated on its platform.

But many journalists, including CNN’s Oliver Darcy, were left dissatisfied with Facebook’s response.

Facebook invited me to an event today where the company aimed to tout its commitment to fighting fake news and misinformation.

I asked them why InfoWars is still allowed on the platform.

I didn’t get a good answer.

— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) July 12, 2018

In my opinion it’s hypocritical that an individual who works for a media organization that publishes a significant amount of false information bitching that another media organization that publishes a significant amount of false information isn’t being censored but opinions are like assholes, which is also why censorship is a difficult problem to tackle. Why is InfoWars (and for that matter, CNN) not being censored by Facebook? Because the opinion of Facebook’s CEO differs from that of Darcy:

Zuckerberg went on to explain that Facebook would examine sites that were flagged as “potential hoaxes”—in other words, limiting their spread across the site.

“Look, as abhorrent as some of this content can be, I do think that it gets down to this principle of giving people a voice,” he continued.

Zuckerberg has placed himself in a difficult place because he has implemented a censorship system on Facebook, which means he now has to fight in the quagmire that is public opinion on whether or not he’s censoring hard enough. The worst part is that there’s no winning that fight. One of the best arguments against a social media platform implementing a censorship program is that doing so opens them up to having to deal with everybody bitching that they’re not censorship the correct material or not censoring hard enough.