With the Alex Jones Ban, Does America Need to Rethink Free Speech?
A conspiracy theorist was banned from several social media outlets–is this a cause for concern for Americans’ right to free speech?
Last Thursday, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars news network were banned from Facebook, Spotify, YouTube and Apple platforms, in what appeared to be a coordinated effort. The implications of the ban have left some cheering, and others concerned. Jones and his network peddle in conspiracy theories like 9/11 “truths,” as well as the idea that the Sandy Hook Massacre was a hoax, so their audiences (and critics) are bound to be on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to interpreting the reason behind the ban.
The Right to Ban?
One argument that supports the right to ban is that Facebook, Spotify, YouTube and Apple are private platforms that are allowed to ban any person or group for any reason they want–even for no reason at all. It’s a valid argument, and one that conservatives have championed in cases including bakers refusing to provide a cake for a gay wedding, or NFL bosses telling players they cannot kneel for the National Anthem.
However, the majority of people making this argument have also argued that bakers do have to bake cakes for everyone ,and that the NFL cannot tell its players they cannot kneel. Many who have argued against banning Jones and Infowars have argued the opposite in these other cases.
Consistency is key if you want people to believe you are standing on principles.
You could also make the argument that these are not the same types of issues and should not be treated the same way. If you start the process of banning people from platforms because of unpopular speech, the platforms are going to be inundated with requests to ban more people and more groups based on their own disagreement with the published content.
History has shown that appeasement does not stop, but rather accelerates, the desire to get more of what is wanted.
The Right to Be Heard?
The other case to be made is that freedom of speech was enshrined in the Constitution in order to protect unpopular speech, and while the First Amendment does not apply to private businesses, one could contend that companies like Facebook have transcended being “private” and have entered into being public utilities. They have become the “town square” where a person’s voice is able to be heard.
A ban on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or any combination of those platforms essentially renders one voiceless in an era where people are switching from television and print media into online news.
The ban essentially robs the person of their free speech in our modern, virtual-based world.
Both arguments are valid, but in the opinion of this writer, it is a dangerous and slippery slope when speech begins to be banned, regardless of how repugnant one thinks it is.
As Censorship on Social Media & Content Platforms Grows, Opportunities & Frustrations Arise
He is not an example of anything but mental health care.
Jesus Christ HATE SPEECH IS A CRIME. .. NOT PROTECTED under free speech. STOP GIVING THIS POS A PLATFORM.
IF THIS IS THE GARBAGE YOU’RE POSTING. YOU’RE JUST AS BAD AS HE IS, AND I WILL UNFOLLOW, BLOCK, & REPORT THIS BULLSHIT, FAST!!!! :/
Exactly correct! Hate speach is a crime!
It’s NOT about the 1st Amendment, it’s about our Culture and ‘making shit up’ pretending it’s ‘free… https://t.co/txl4yZhqvp
I think some new definitions are called for. The internet is like a giant crowded theater. You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater…. there needs to be some accountability for generating conspiracy theories that hurt people or cause someone to show up at a pizza parlor and shoot someone….
No need because speech that insights violence is not protected, or proven lies
What these people say is like yelling fire in a theater, not allowed because it causes a dangerous s… https://t.co/MWcSnAMMJ2
No, Jones is a nut and everything he says is a lie or false facts.
Free Press is reporting what they see and hear.
Jones makes up his own facts and stories.
We need to work on that….the rules seem to be to loose and not working ???? that’s why talk shows like Alex Jones are around….things just need to be tuned down somewhat !!!
Truth should be valued.
explain TRUTH from A J ?
Kind of late to rethink it. You’ve already given( and insisted they take it) the decision to social media.
Sick smart bastard
His eyes seem awfully close together…
He’s famous for yelling fire in a theatre.. Fuck him
Free speech does not give you the right to provoke hate and violence. To lie about others and another . To overthrow a government . No it does not allow that .
No! Put back the fairness doctrine and stop all this lying!!!
Heh free speech he
Dems lost an election. Pretending to be the thought police got to find dumb rednecks to hold themselves next to you to make them look smart I could have this conversation today and not give a f*** about it tomorrow because motherfukers ain’t worth the time
Look across the world mofos acting like fools hurting one another and intern be coming devices of the elite fools hurt their own damn self more than anyone else and then come out and preach yeah me too got to laugh When Fools Rush In And try and have intellectual conversation and f*** themselves off every time no one got nothing to say no one
Y’all might as well get to Wrecking each other cuz y’all got nothing to say
Oh wait not done yet what is up with these fool writers they think they can throw a few angles together and they think they’re coming up? Maybe they need to have some kind of Licensing 4 want to be journalist and fools who suck at the game y’all suck at democracy
Change it to …Free truth….. fiction has a price.
We need more honest free speach and we need it now
Not so much limit free speech as penalties for blatant public lies.
Free speech doesn’t mean that you give a for profit platform to hate mongering.
Lies are not free speech. They’re just lies.
His was hate speech and propaganda. You can say whatever you want as long as you are willing to take responsibility for the words you choose!
Think like an ancient Roman…”Who does he hold dear”?! Machiavelli
Who and where are they?…that is how you shut their shitholes from word flapping
Alex jones is free to prove just what a know nothing POS he is! And we are all free to laugh our collective asses off!
Free speech is a lot different than total BATSHIT CRAZY hate speech .
That nutjob needs a full gag order .
Ban? Who says he banned? You hateful far right scumbags wouldn’t know how freedom of speech works if it grabbed you by the pussy! ????
Hate speech and free speech are two very different things.
This guy should be banned from all platforms. He’s a hateful, racist ass. Telling his lemmings Sandy Hook was fake put the final nails in this idiot’s coffin. What a slug…. He’s so full of hatred, he’ll probably die of a heart attack, stroke or aneurysm.
Absolutely not. This POS spews nothing but hate and out right lies that have dire consequences! He needs to be held accountable.
Free speech is one thing which that’s cool but having some a****** up there saying that the Jews didn’t get an Isle a damn near wiped out and the concentration camps never happened and school shootings was a hoax that’s not free speech that’s some a****** getting up there trying to cover lies up need to keep free speech and pure out wise separate our forefathers didn’t fight for people like that they’re to be able to get up and say they weren’t worth nothing they didn’t protect us they never stood up that’s what free speech is all about not some guy up there wanting to whip lies and our young people’s lives saying I’m saying stupid s*** like that
No. Why should hatred and lies be acceptable?
Not rethink just learn and understand.
Jones abuses free speech, makes up conspiracies, and blatantly lies.
He does rock a beard tho
He’s not banned from speaking his lies, only on certain platforms. If you want to hear his dangerous bullshit, go listen to him in a diner.
Free Speech, no. Changing the rules of Broadcasting, yes.
Now that we live in a service driven society. The market is determining the backlash bigots face. I personally don’t want to put racist back in the closet. I want to know who you are. But, we need to end the corporate control of the media and internet. We need to make them
Public utilities. For every Alex Jones being banned there’s still more black and brown voices being monitored and banned.
Free speech is totally misunderstood,and as a simil we can see the public places.Some believe that b… https://t.co/0VoIoASWUz
No if you’re on social media follow the rules of the social media site.
No. Freedom of speech has never included the freedom to intentionally spread outright lies.
NO! Free Speach is important to our democracy! What this administration is doing is NOT free speach! Free speach is not lies! It is having the right to tell the truth! Slander and falsehoods are already illegal!
He’s not a true American.
Does America need to rethink Alex Jones
No way. What a scumbag he is. Plug him up.
No! He still gets to say what he wants. Just now he doesn’t get a great big platform to express his nonsense. He can just go out on the street or in a bar and mouth off all he wants.
And he can get the shit kicked out of him , but he’s a coward like trump
No , but hate speeches are not protected under free speach
It’s free SPEECH, not free loving compliments
Kevin Hill what are you trying to say? That you disagree with me , well any hate speech that causes game to others is not protected
Twitter just took Ron Paul down! He only preaches freedom! Smh
No. We need to rethink government.
No, we need to think free speech, not “rethink” it.
Only idiots are happy with what is happening. Don’t worry they be silencing you soon.
They only banned hate rhetoric, he is free to be as displeased as he wishes but they do not have to air his hate.
WE DON’T NEED TO RE-THINK IT, WE NEED TO ASSERT IT.,
There’s a difference between Free Speech and acting like a little child having a tantrum.
Slander is not free speech . It is a pack of lies
No. Hate speech yes!
No. Omg WTH. Stop the madness
What part of FREE speech is confusing. It doesn’t mean if someone says something you don’t like or disagree with you can have them silenced. It means ppl are free to say what they want regardless of who it offends it their right
We know what hate speech is!
Yea, he should be hired back because he was on a platform where he exercised his free speech for entertainment of others. Regardless if people agreed or felt offended, its free speech. Suck it up and fuck off. Not a fan btw.
Dustin Glenn If you find threatening others with death to be “entertainment,” it’s likely that you’re lying when you pretend to not be a fan. Suck it up and crawl back into your rat hole.
Free speeches protects you from the government. Hate speech doesn’t protect you from the reactions of the public. Two very different things sir.
No, because there have always been limits on free speech. We mostly need to return to acknowledging this.
I would ask, “Do you have a right, as a CEO of a world-accessed fully public super media spider web network to simply ban folks, at your whim?” Too much power, not to be regulated, folks.
Still don’t get it
Are the servers not letting him have Infowars? No. Can you still have his site pop up in every simple Google query? Yes. Can you still type the address into the URL bar? Yes. Fucking duh.
Is third party platforms not letting him use their service censorship? No. Neither is kicking some yelling lunatic off of your porch. Quit saying it is. The ubiquity of certain platforms is in no small part the fault of the consumer.