“Free” speech

My Way News – ‘Public’ online spaces don’t carry speech, rights:

Rant all you want in a public park. A police officer generally won’t eject you for your remarks alone, however unpopular or provocative.

Say it on the Internet, and you’ll find that free speech and other constitutional rights are anything but guaranteed.

Companies in charge of seemingly public spaces online wipe out content that’s controversial but otherwise legal. Service providers write their own rules for users worldwide and set foreign policy when they cooperate with regimes like China. They serve as prosecutor, judge and jury in handling disputes behind closed doors.

Good article, with some specific examples. Of course this makes some cry for the “government” to step in a ensure that free speech rights aren’t violated. Government? Which government, exactly? One like China, which prohibits all kinds of information, or one like the U.S., which establishes “free speech zones” far away enough from the action that no one knows about it?

One old example that they didn’t mention, if I recall correctly, was several years ago when some genius at AOL decided that the word “breast” would no longer be allowed anywhere on AOL. This, of course, wiped out the breast cancer discussion forum.

And of course, they can let you rant all they want, but if you strike a telling blow with a little bit of truth that they don’t like, it goes down the memory hole, cache and all.


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