In the twentieth century, the US government used anti-trust laws to dismantle US corporations with far less money and infinitely far less power. Never in the history of mankind has such absolute power in the information battle-space been in the hands of so few. If the body politic understood this and the ramifications of inaction, they would be terrified. And rightly so.
Our events, social media pages, are scrubbed, censored and blacklisted. Shouting into the wilderness is not the freedom of speech. Talking to yourself is not freedom of speech.
The Sherman Antitrust Act ought to be used to break the monopoly these social media giants wield over free speech in social networking sector. Thomas Lifson of the American Thinker sees the problem as I do and supports “legislation that requires social media to censor only direct threats, making it illegal to delete content on any other basis. Social media platforms must be viewpoint neutral. That threat is necessary to counter the pressure Facebook obviously faces from Muslim governments like Pakistan’s. Losing a billion-plus-strong market like the 57 Muslim countries is obviously undesirable for Facebook, so its management is responding to pressure.”
The value of that market would have to be balanced against the value of markets like the United States that could stand up for free speech. By seeming to cave in to the demand that Islam be the only subject that cannot be discussed openly and honestly, anywhere in the world, these social media companies are in the process of handing the first global triumph of sharia, enforcing its ban on blasphemy.
“Western social media firms under fire as Iranians hint at dialogue over censorship,” by Bethan McKernan, Independent, August 30, 2017:
Several social media companies in the West have been criticised for a perceived lack of transparency in alleged talks with the Iranian authorities on censoring content to the approval of the country’s strict religious authorities.
Instagram, currently available in the country – as well as Twitter and YouTube, which are blocked but widely visited by Iranians using proxy servers – have all been reported by local media in recent weeks as as co-operating with the authorities to aid them in blocking or censoring “immoral” content.
Newly installed communications minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi has been clear that he intends to shake up the status quo, promising citizens easier access to the internet and app platforms.
He has been quoted in several Iranian newspapers as claiming that the government is in fresh talks with social media companies to allow them to operate more freely within Iran as long as they adhere to the country’s strict “morality” rules.
“[Twitter] has announced that it is prepared to negotiate to resolve problems,“ he told a daily newspaper last week, adding that officials had also reached out to YouTube representatives.
In news reports earlier this month, outgoing communications minister Mahmoud Vaezi said that the Supreme Council of Cyberspace (SCC) had also begun talks with managers at photo-based service Instagram to block “immodest” pages from being viewed within the country….
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