A Few Notes on Social-Network Regulation
Many conservatives think the answer to possible censorship by social networks is to bust them up. I disagree for the following reasons:
- We are winning on the two most important fronts.
For some reason, many conservatives have actually been convinced by left-wing gloating and think they lost the “culture war.” The two most important parts of that war are abortion and guns. In the real world, poll results on approval of abortion have not budged in decades and the abortion rate has been declining. Support for gun-control laws has been declining along with the crime rate.
- The problem is going away.
The problem of censorship by social networks, to the extent it exists, is made possible by their monopolistic nature. On the other hand, the Left is also convinced they face a problem of potential censorship by capitalists and they're putting together alternatives such as Mastodon. They're already faced with the fact that people they don't like can use it.
- Vertical integration is good.
Breaking up the social networks and keeping them out of web browsers, etc., is a common recommendation. On the other hand, that can backfire. If different organizations control different layers, the censors only have to block one of the layers and they can pick the weakest.
- Net neutrality is still a bad idea.
First, the commonest justification (that the social networks are platforms instead of publishers) only means that they're immune from lawsuits that should not exist in the first place. Second, in LeftWorld, the rights to trespass on someone else's private property and to force people to pay to propagate opinions they don't hold are First-Amendment rights. I suspect that the right to shout down opinions you don't like will soon be regarded as a right and any attempt by a social network to deal the DDOS from the Left will be a violation of net neutrality.
- Last, but not least: You cannot use the Ring!