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            Facebook has recently been under fire from many quarters for censorship of certain types of content and news stories. This usually takes the form of having posts removed or unavailable, being threatened with removal of pages, or even deletion of pages which have been in existence for years. In addition, users have reported having their own posts hidden from view by either entering ‘Facebook jail’ invoked by complaints from other posters about an individual’s content links being too interesting and relevant to delete them all together, but just enshrouded in a fog that obscures them from view in the general public and even in one’s own personal ‘timeline’. There is no appeal process; it is up to someone at Facebook whether they want to censor your posts or not. This, of course, begs the question: who decides what content should be censored? These questions remain unanswered for all but a specially privileged few within the bowels of the social media monolith.

            In addition, Facebook has been actively censoring certain political groups which have been critical of US foreign policy and military actions throughout the world. Many people have come forward with complaints that their pages have been removed from view or deleted altogether by a company that claims to respect free speech while using its algorithms and staff members to suppress legitimate dissent from being heard on this platform.  

            On the other side of the coin is Twitter, where I write this article for example, which has no censorship policies except for spam and illegal content. The inadvertent result of this lax policy is that Twitter has become a cesspool of pornography and hate speech; one only needs to take a cursory glance at my twitter feed (and notifications) and it is filled with porn and vitriolic comments from various trolls who object to my opinions on various subject matters. This may seem trivial or unimportant, but it paints a picture of what we can expect in the future if we allow social media platforms to censor controversial content: we will end up living in an echo chamber where all dissenting voices are silenced by either overt censorship or more passive means such as forcing them to ‘pay for their voice’ or limiting others from viewing their posts. This in turn will spawn a generation of people who have a distorted view of the world around them and how it operates due to significant chunks of information being censored from public view.

            In addition, social media has become an excellent platform for sharing photos and having conversations with friends, family members, and even meeting new people from all over the world that share common interests that might not be readily apparent without making use of this technology. Allowing censorship of any sort on these platforms would create a new class system between those who can speak freely and those whose voices are muted or removed completely.  

            I am not advocating for hate speech or pornography that is against the law in most countries, but I am advocating for freedom of speech to be preserved. Make no mistake about it: allowing censorship on social media will have a dramatic effect on what we perceive as news and truth; it will create echo chambers where only people who think alike can communicate with each other and present their ideas without challenge, and worst of all: we may end up losing the ability to discuss controversial issues lest we face some sort of censorship from Big Brother (or The Great and Powerful Oz). It has happened before; banal overuse of words like ‘hate’, ‘racism’, ‘bigotry’, etc. meant that any criticism of any group by anyone was labeled as such and therefore became taboo to be discussed in public lest you are labeled a racist or bigot by some overly-sensitive snowflake.

            I personally do not see the need for any sort of censorship on social media platforms, but rather an increase in transparency that makes it clear what information is being censored and why it has been done so. This is needed to prevent corruption of the system where some people get their posts removed while others with differing political opinions (or even no political opinions) have had theirs censored due to secret algorithms used behind closed doors at Facebook HQ. It will only lead to further alienation between groups of people who already distrust each other, and more importantly: it will likely cause violent consequences when certain voices are prevented from speaking out about their grievances against society or against the government.

            The solution to this problem that has been created by social media platforms is simple: more transparency into these powerful companies. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit (and even non-social ones like YouTube) hold incredible power over how we perceive society through what they allow us to see and talk about. This is a boat load of responsibility that they have been completely ignoring in favor of their bottom line profits from advertisements, but they have effectively built empires on the backs of our free speech and allowed us to speak our mind without fear or hesitation for many years now which has made them rich beyond belief. Any action against censorship must be met with a wall of resistance from any person who values freedom of speech.

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