by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Facebook is under mounting scrutiny for its approach to moderating online speech. Lawmakers and the public alike have serious questions about the decisions Facebook chooses to make about the things you can say and the posts you can see on its platform. Some of those questions will likely be asked this week by the Senate Judiciary Committee when it holds a hearing on technology companies and free speech.
So with this increased focus on Facebook’s decisions, the social-media giant is taking a new approach. Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called for the government to police your speech instead of having Facebook do it. He wants governments around the world to adopt rules that would determine what types of speech are and are not allowed online. Unfortunately for his plan, government censorship isn’t just a bad idea; in America, at least, it would violate the First Amendment.
Now, Facebook may see this as a convenient way of passing the buck. Or perhaps it wants to divert attention from calls to break up Big Tech. But none of that justifies Facebook’s decision to surrender our First Amendment rights as tribute.
In my experience as a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, large corporations do not call for greater government control as an act of charity. They do it to solidify their positions in the market and insulate themselves from competition.