“Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t understand free speech in the 21st century” says The Guardian
“Facebook and the “Free Speech” Excuse” headlines The NewYorker
“Mark Zuckerberg’s reckless idea of free speech” concludes The Week
These were just some of the headlines after the Mark Zuckerberg’s freedom of expression speech delivered to an audience at Georgetown University. He said that during times of social upheaval, policymakers have instinctively sought to limit the freedom of speech.
He also addressed the controversy regarding the political ads and the ban on conservative voices to use ads. He pushed back on criticism of Facebook’s handling of political advertising, saying he briefly considered banning political ads entirely from Facebook.
Zuckerberg added that “If another nation’s platforms set the rules, our nation’s discourse could be set by a completely different set of values”. “(…) We should be proactive and write policies that help free expression triumph around the world.”
Major personalities also reacted to his speech. Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen attacked Facebook and other social media platforms for enabling the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation.
Some analysts agrees that “Social media has indeed enhanced the social discourse and this includes the radical discourse.” but consider that “The issue is Who is going to censor de speech and decide what is allowed and true on Social Media? A progressive/neo-marxist? A conservative christian? A neoliberal elitist? A pro-Sharia fascist?”
The argument of ‘hate speech’ is no news for our times, progressive and socialist movements used it every single time someone said something they disagree with. To dismiss the Constitutional and human right of free speech is not a viable option if everything is to be considered hate speech. It is de facto a ‘speech ban’ similar to those enforced by communist regimes.
Liberties should come with individual responsibilities, not group responsibilities. We cannot deny the fact there are reprobable discourses and they should not be encouraged by any platform but nonetheless they should be allowed to speak. There is an important disctiction between immoral discourse and illegal discourse.
Facebook is in our understanding a media platform and as any other media publisher should be controlled by the governing body. We do not accept antisemitism on TV and radio, Facebook Ads should not propagate them either. But this should be limited just to the legal definition of ‘unlawful speech’ and not to include some ideological political correctness rules and identity politics.