The question mark over our freedom of speech

While the ban on Trump at the moment might seem the right thing, this raises an important question. If the US president can't express his opinion, then who can?

Internet Suspensions and Censorship | representational

As many people say, we live in an era of information and technology. Computers know us more than we know ourselves. It might seem a fun thing to brag about, but the issues of privacy and manipulation are scarier than they sound.

However, in this article, we are not dealing with privacy issues. Instead, we will dive into the dark side of the era, which many people claim to be the paradise for the free flow of information and freedom of opinion.

American President Donald Trump recently got banned from almost all Social Media, his major medium to convey with his supporters. This sounds totally okay and the right thing to do, when we take into consideration the situation created by his tweets and further possible consequences of it.

However, banning Trump's social media accounts reduces the accountability of the whole Capitol Hill riot to a single person's particular activity. 

When we observe the contexts that created the Capitol incident, the polarization was not the wrongdoing of a particular figure. Several incidents worked as a catalyst to bring American Politics to the day of the capitol hill riots.

The mainstream media were more divided than ever, openly endorsing a particular side and intentionally hiding the reports that exposed their sides. They often manipulated information in a manner that favored their side. 

People often argue in favor of these things as 'journalistic freedom.' Still, the same people have either been attempting to prosecute Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for publishing the information and exposing the state's inhumane crimes.

The thing that has been stopping the state to actually interfere in these matters is not because the state believes in freedom of speech; instead, the state wants us to believe that it believes in freedom of speech.

Although the state no longer has direct control, oligarchs seek another way to restrict our speech. And sadly enough, the set of oligarchs are no longer limited to the state.

The 'social media platforms' are the most convenient way to express opinions. First amendment of the American constitution does not apply to "private media platforms" so, our basic freedom of opinion is not as protected in social media as it is elsewhere.

Donald Trump has been actively been against section 230 which protects social media to regulate the content. The regulation of content has effectively been seen to manipulate public opinion.

Major social media platforms are effectively controlled by 2-3 people where most of the platforms are under one particular person, Mark Zuckerberg. The scenario is worse when we have handful of people controlling flow of information over the globe.

The only information that flows freely is our 'private data'. Tech giants are obviously for business, their net worth rise by billions every day and they always keep manipulating things in their way.

India has technically been a one-party state with the opposition being reduced to a small number in parliament. Facebook in India has not only been funding the ruling party but also actively seen to manipulate content in a manner to favor the ruling party extremists. Pro Islam content had been censored or removed effectively saying it promotes riot while hate speech against Islam was not a big deal for the Facebook.

Other giants, Twitter, Google etc also have a firm base in India from which they have been controlled by the government and vice versa.

India is just an example of the oligarchy that the Big Companies are everywhere, that's more when the company can control the flow of information.

Banning Trump seems a similar attempt to control the flow of opinion. I am in no way wanting to say Trump should be allowed to instigate violence in the public but the same thing can be done from a political medium.

If a particular political opinion needs to be controlled, it should be controlled politically than only it would have a fair trial. Just enforcing the ban over political opinion through a private media can not be a solution.

Private media can't be trusted to decide what's appropriate and what's not, that will obviously lead to a point when private media will have effective control over what we can speak and what we can not.

It is just a matter of time before the events of today will be looked as precedent to decide what can be acceptable. Banning somebody from social media just because they claim the election has been stolen is not a good idea.

Any way people not being allowed to post on Facebook might make us feel there is no disagreement but the rage and disagreement are always there, which people will be always seeking to express. The collected anger becomes aggression and when it is ignored, it can be devastating.

People should deal that these Trump supporters also live in America and they are in tens of millions, ignoring the tens of millions of people won't calm their rage. When the president changes, these people wouldn't just go away, and not letting them posting on Facebook and Twitter might be the worst possible solution.


Publish : 2021-01-09 12:26:00

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