Week 5 Discussion


Initial post: Thursday, midnight

Response: Sunday, midnight

Maximum points: 100

Read the following article:

"Free speech on the Internet is at risk. Social media platforms have been participating in various forms of censorship like the demonetization of youtube videos, shadow banning of twitter users, the manipulation of trending news sections, and outright deletion of content.

Ajit Pai and the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality will make this situation even worse. It will open us up to new forms of censorship directly from ISPs like Verizon and Comcast, and concentrate power in the hands of the largest Silicon Valley tech companies, who will be able to squash competition from startups once they can cut deals on a pay-to-play Internet.

Here’s some examples of what’s already happening:
  • Youtube creators like , , and have suffered demonetization, as well as comedy channels like , and firearms related channels like and . Thousands and thousands of channels have been caught in YouTube’s demonetization scheme from all across the political spectrum.
  • Facebook workers routinely suppressed conservative stories from appearing in the trending news sections
  • Facebook was caught censoring live feeds of the Standing Rock pipeline protests
  • Twitter has been accused of banning and suspending outspoken users on both the left and the right.
  • Facebook, Google, and Twitter have all announced plans to stifle or stop ads related to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Their stated excuse is to curb the effects of scam ICOs, but we shouldn't forget that emerging micropayments platforms like Basic Attention Token are a direct threat to their revenue model.

When the right and left views get pushed out of the common dialogue, everything gets squished towards the middle. Censorship of the internet just makes things more and more like television, and has a massive chilling effect on voices who dare to be different and challenge conventional thought. A free society MUST have free speech."

Do you agree with this opinion? Explain your point based on the ethical principles you learned.

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