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Lewis Morris / February 10, 2022

Facebook Begs for Government Censorship

The Big Tech giant wants your content censored without the responsibility for doing so.

A series of Facebook ads have recently appeared pleading for the government to step in and regulate social media. What could go wrong?

In a series of short videos, Facebook employees complain about the troubles of their job trying to decide what content can stay up and what should come down. Trying to moderate content is difficult and not everyone is happy with their decisions. Oh, the travails of working for the online media book-burners.

Facebook would have us believe that all these troubles would go away if the government just stepped in and laid a uniform set of content standards for social media companies. It’s a line Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been repeating for a couple of years now. Even assuming the problem is what Zuckerberg’s employees say it is and that Big Tech censorship is a necessary good, their prescription is probably the worst thing that could be done. Deeper government involvement wrecks things. Ask the healthcare industry.

Most people are not upset that Facebook moderates content. Users lose the power of final say over their content when they join Facebook. It may be in the fine print, but it’s still print. What a lot of users are rightfully upset about is the way Facebook moderates content. Suppressing content that does not comport with leftist ideals on sex and gender while completely stomping out any information or discussion about the pandemic that is not supported by government agencies is not what an open discussion platform looks like.

Facebook wants to avoid responsibility and accountability for the mire it’s created for itself by passing the buck for content guidelines to the federal government. And being the largest social media platform by orders of magnitude, Facebook figures to proceed much as it did before.

Facebook wants government regulation because it can afford government regulation. Its division of 35,000 content moderators is larger than the entire staff of most social media companies. Facebook can absorb the costs of implementing government regulations and remain a free service (that makes money collecting and selling your data) while other social media platforms will struggle to adapt to the rules that will most likely be written with input from … Facebook.

Knowing this makes it hard to imagine that Zuckerberg is leading an assembly of social media company CEOs calling down the thunder of red tape upon themselves. Virtually all of Facebook’s competitors, if they can be called that, are not in the same league. Facebook acts as if it speaks for all social media companies, but Facebook is speaking for Facebook. This makes Zuckerberg’s call not an altruistic attempt to make social media a harmonious utopia but a calculated attempt to get the upper hand on what he figures is coming anyway.

Congress has been itching to regulate social media for some time. Unfortunately, our oversized federal government never leaves anything that makes money alone for too long. Last summer, the House set in motion several bills aimed at regulating Internet behavior. How long can it be before the power-hungry Left takes up Zuckerberg’s offer?

Facebook is asking the government to take up responsibility for what really is Facebook’s problem. There are already enough laws in place to guide its moderators. The Constitution, for starters, and also Title 47, Section 230 of the United States Code, which protects platforms from liability for the content posted by third parties — in Facebook’s case, users.

Social media has become a much more divisive and harmful tool than it was ostensibly intended to be. And we all have to deal with it accordingly. Maybe it can be fixed. But that will most assuredly not happen if the government is given the power to regulate social media content.

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