During the last few months, I have been reading opinions from numerous sources suggesting that the Silicon Valley social media entrepreneurs are eliminating free speech. It seems to be a common complaint that constructive criticism of topics such as Islamism are often being censored as ‘hate speech’.
In Australia, all jurisdictions give redress when a person is victimised on account of colour, ethnicity, national origin, or race. Provoking or inciting violence is also illegal in every part of Australia and has been for a long time.
While any right minded person should be opposed to hate speech and inciting violence, censoring constructive, reasonable critique of any topic should be permitted in a society that professes to support freedom of speech as was the case in all Western societies.
Unfortunately, in some countries, such as the United Kingdom, people are now being arrested and prosecuted for so-called Islamophobia. Needless to say, some of the commentary does constitute incitement to violence and needs to be addressed. Most commentary, however, seems to be justified critique that would have previously been allowed under freedom of speech, for example, commenting that Islamic ideology demands a death penalty for apostates and homosexuals.
Being able to sensibly discuss issues of social concern without fear of backlash has been central to Western society since its gradual development from 800 AD. Freedom of speech is central to our societies. Millions have given their lives to preserve it.
Social media companies including Twitter, Facebook and Google are now shutting down temporarily or permanently, accounts that express ideas that don’t fit their essentially Leftist narrative, including perceived hate speech. Some concern has been expressed by commentators that the people who are advising Silicon Valley executives about hate speech are in fact people who have expressed anti-semitic and anti-Christian or other views that render them biased towards the Islamist ideology.
Do we now need a conservative social media to offset the Left-wing bias of the current key social media players?
A site called MeWe has set up in opposition to Facebook and promises, like Facebook, not to sell users’ data and not to spy on them. (Facebook underwent a public flogging earlier this year after it was revealed it had allowed Cambridge Analytica to harvest and sell users’ data.) It’s big point of difference will be not to include advertisements. How MeWe intends to make money is not stated, but it appears it is intending to provide a solid alternative to Facebook and all it has come to represent.
If such a site is successful could we see some alternatives to Twitter and Google also? Will there eventually evolve a site or several sites that provide a balanced narrative (if that’s humanly possible) or at least promote Western, Judaeo-Christian values (including freedom of speech) that are the foundation of a civilisation that has proven itself to be so successful for so long?