The end of free speech?

First of all, I want to make clear that I do not support violence, domestic terrorism, Trump or whatever . I don’t even live in the US.
What I want to talk about is the impact of the response to these events will have on our lives.

So as you’ve seen, the response of Google, Facebook and other giants was censorship of what is considered hate speech, violence incitement, false news etc. And lawmakers will probably increase penalties of such actions. In Europe some type of hate speech is already punishable by prison or ridiculously high fines and keep getting higher, while punishment for actual physical harm seems to be softening up.

Anyway, let’s assume these actions are justified for this specific event in the US. What impact will have this on free speech in the future? To me it looks like it will be viewed as a precedent and the event will be invoked as a reason to limit people’s right to say what the feel.
This is already happening with Covid. I’ve seen large forums that erase posts of users that have opinions that differ from the official version. For example in my country there is a rumour that families of people that died were paid to sign some paper that stated the person died from Covid. As a side note: I do not know personally if it’s true or not, but I do have close friends that claimed were in this situation and I tend to believe them, not the officials. But even if it’s not true, I do not feel that it is right to deny the right of person to say what he believes or feels. This is just wrong. Even if it appears to be incitement to violence, hate of various groups or racism. We have courts, laws, judges, lawyers. It’s their job to handle each case individually. It’s not ok to ban and censor people “by default” and without a trial, and by people that are not qualified to judge such things. Some might be wrong, but some might be right. If you shut them all up, you could be assisting a crime against humanity itself. What it this vaccine ends up having serious side effects and someone finds this out? He will be labeled as a ‘anti-vaxxer’ and denied to share his info with others without even verifying his claims.

It’s also not okay to play the nanny with grownups and consider that people are too stupid think for themselves.
People should have the right to decide what is good and wrong with their own brain. If you deny them access to information that you consider harmful you are actually making them stupid, you are not protecting them. I don’t want to live in a world where everyone is a drone.

A few points

> Social media is a megaphone for an opening in the human body. Sometimes the mouth, the lungs, the heart… sometimes the arse…

> censorship is always required at some level to own and provide a service. In a free market too much is a bad thing but not enough can be just as bad.

> robust discussions around pandemics, vaccines and politics should always aim to be based in fact. The scientific method was developed for a reason and has allowed us to reach impressive heights in technology and humanity. I would propose this recent trend of leaving facts out for a good rush on the social media megaphone has contributed to the demise of some. (Citation needed but I’m just riffing on the internet here)

Are we allowed to discuss politics or controversial topics on BLF?

Free speech in itself has no boundaries, because of the word free.
The world around has a ton of boundaries set by either lawmakers, either by companies, either by current society customs.
So one could easily question why would they think something is free, there are huge boundaries and they change depending of the factors that decide.


I’m not a fan of Trump but I’m worried for free speech.
I believe there shall be limits on it. But I think they should be set by governments, not individual censors.
At the same time I recognize how governments utterly fail to police modern media. And I recognize that it has big negative impact on polarization of societies. This is a problem in the USA. This is a problem in a number of European countries, mine included. This may be a problem elsewhere, I don’t know.

As to free speech being a controversial topic…is it one? I don’t know.

the problem isn`t so much the speech it`s the fact it`s being done on private property, facebook, twitter etc… are owned by someone and they have a right to say what goes on (or not) within that space.
If you hosted a site on your own hard drive on your own computer you would be able to say a lot more freely.

I guess that depends on how members here will deal with the subject. ;-) For comparison: The "coronavirus" thread was more than once on the verge to being shut down (indefinitely) for reasons of controversial arguments, everlasting ranting and publication of conspiracy theories. Sb had to jump in a couple of times to get things under control again - in my opinion in a very thoughtful, polite and comprehensible manner. I have seen other flashlight forums where this very topic was more or less immediately banned by moderators and adminstrators for reasons of too much controversy. So, to name a good example for the freedom of speech, BLF is a wonderful place to be. :-)

I do have my own thoughts about the "end of free speech" but in my own personal interest and in respect of keeping this thread alive, I choose to keep my fingers still. :-D

Of course.

One could ask, is it technically speech that people argue about?
99% of the people do not say anything in public space or supermarket by their own, yet on these platforms we can type indefinitely (until someone decides otherwise).

Ever thought of the fact that in a litigating society, companies that enable info that can lead to serious criminal behaviour, can be charged as if they were accomplices? And that advertizers that are big sponsors are not happy with that. So these are not actions because of a moral outrage to what was said, but of looking out for the well-being of “number one” . Ie, the platforms themselves.

The problem is those social media have a special status that makes them not responsible for what is published on their sites, if they want to curate and censor content that has not violated any law then they act as a publisher and they should have their status removed and treated as a publisher legaly responsible for the content they choose to publish, this is plain censorship, one cannot applaud it if it happens to the opposite ideological camp, the continued infringments on free speech by social medias is extremely worrying to any principled person who believes in democracy.

I will not speak much about this topic.
I would like to say some things however.

I know what you mean with this, but careful with this assumption.
During the dictatorship in Portugal (from the 1933 to 1974), censorship was one of the regime’s apparatus to restrain freedom of speech and expression. And in many countries it still is done by the governments, so…maybe that would be a completely new forum.

As for freedom of speech, I am all in favour of it!! My country did a revolution for freedom, so how couldn’t I be?
But if free speech leads to incitements and, ultimately, to deaths, you’re allowing someone(s) to speak freely while you freedom of living is taken…

I think that the admins of conspiracy myth fora must have the right to kick out people bothering the communities with scientific facts.

Freedom of speech does not protect things said that can cause harm to individuals. Same reason why it’s illegal to yell fire in a crowded theater.

Communism caused 100 million death and a century of literal misery for hundred of millions, should we ban any discourse proponent of communism ?

Incitment is already taken care of by the actual laws, if it breaks the law, remove it , if it doesn’t you can’t choose what you want people to say if you refused publisher status.

The real question is, who controls everything?
Who controls the thought control police?

In this case it’s evident democrats want to prevent Trump’s possibility to get re-elected in 4 years.

It’s not explicitly stated in the site rules, but we try to avoid politics since it will only cause disagreement

Free speech (in the countries that support it) should not be limited in any manner, whatsoever. A call to action made by someone while they are talking/typing/etc is different than free speech. A call to action for violence is illegal, saying controversial ideas and topics is not illegal (in the US, at least, yet. it’s free speech). I agree with Katherine that google, Facebook, etc can censor whatever they want. They are private companies and are not held to the same laws (the constitution) as the government in America. I believe nowadays the lines are getting a little blurred and it’s hard for people to tell the difference, but the government should not have any part in making laws dictating what people can say on social media or of any kind. If someone calls to action others by telling them they should do something illegal or violent- well there are already laws that make that illegal. To setup laws to stop people from even being able to share controversial topics in any public forum (electronic or otherwise) is a really slippery slope and I can guarantee if they start doing this, in 10 years we won’t even recognize free speech anymore. The whole thing is completely unbelievable.

Whether you like Trump or not, you gotta admit the power that these big tech companies have is scary. If they can censor the president, they can censor anyone… I think people will only realise how much of a problem this is in a few years when it gets much worse.