Free Speech vs. “Censorship By Proxy”: Parler’s Amy Peikoff vs. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

Parler’s chief policy officer, the thoughtful Amy Peikoff, has an enlightening interview on Spiked Online on the app’s cancellation by Big Tech. According to Ms. Peikoff, “Parler’s mission has always been to allow people to express themselves freely to the maximum extent possible consistent with the law and with our own business purposes….” and that the answer to so-called “hate speech” is ” more speech.”

In regards to Parler differentiating itself from Twitter and Facebook, Peikoff states that Parler “want[s] to respect the privacy of users. Unlike with Twitter and Facebook, there’s no data mining, profiling, and targeting of ads based on profiles.” She adds: “The people on Parler are not the commodity.”

Peikoff also finds it “scary” that,

“Politicians are hauling tech CEOs before Congress and urging them to remove more and more content, even when the particular category of speech in question would be protected by the First Amendment or similar laws around the world.

“It’s a scary prospect, because we get to a stage where we are not in a completely free country.

In regards, to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s call for what some describe as “censorship by proxy”:

“Moreover, Mark Zuckerberg supports new regulations under which platforms would be required to issue so-called transparency reports. These are reports in which firms describe what they have done to deal with ‘objectionable content’, including speech that is protected by the First Amendment.

“He has gone further to suggest platforms should be required to prove their effectiveness at dealing with that content. If that ends up being put into law, it would represent the government trying to achieve, via regulation of social-media companies, what it could not achieve by directly censoring.”

Read the full Spiked Online interview here.

In an article on her personal website, Don’t Let It Go (named after a brilliant article by philosopher Ayn Rand), Peikoff writes on Zuckerberg’s proposals:

“Now recall that Mark Zuckerberg, in the most recent Big-Tech-CEO-Hearanguing before Congress, suggested amending Section 230 as follows:

  1. “Transparency” – each company enjoying Section 230 immunity would be required to issue periodic reports detailing how it dealt with certain types of “objectionable” content.
  2. “Accountability” –platforms enjoying immunity could also be held to some minimum level of “effectiveness” with respect to dealing with that “objectionable” content. (Recall he also bragged about how effective Facebook’s “hate speech” algorithms are.)

“Perhaps you think “transparency” at least, is good. But imagine what information ends up being collected and retained as ‘ordinary business records’ when complying with this sort of law, and read on.

Peikoff notes that though Parler was singled out by Amazon, Google, and others, the left-leaning Salonblame[s] Facebook for playing a much larger role in facilitating the planning that led up to the 6th.

Writes Peikoff:

“….What does Salon hope to gain by blaming Facebook and showing sympathy to Parler? I argue that placing responsibility for user-generated content on platforms plays right into the totalitarians’ hands.

“With all the platforms now being blamed for user-generated content containing threats or incitement, the new Congress needs only to accept Mark Zuckerberg’s engraved invitation to amend Section 230 along the above lines. But, as we’ve learned in the last week, no system of guidelines enforcement is perfect. If Facebook, with all its algorithms and other resources could not ‘adequately’ deal with this content, then what company could?

“If it’s not actually possible to be good at this, to the standard that everyone seems to expectand Zuckerberg is calling for all of us to be regulated according to that standard, then what exactly is he calling for (whether he realizes it or not)? For government to take over, to have arbitrary control. For all online platforms to operate only by permission of government, according to whatever standards politicians (or the Twitter mobs pulling their strings) deem fit—and this will be true with respect to both free speech and privacy.”

I would love to see a debate between Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Parler’s CPO Amy Peikoff on this vital issue.

For context, below is a video interview with Tucker Carlson on the targeting of Parler by Google, Apple, and Amazon:

Top Photo: FoxNews Tucker Carlson Show

 

Related: