I was shocked to read the many letters in last week’s paper publicly flogging the editor for publishing the article “Big Tech Censorship Hits Home”. The vitriol that the writers of these letters had for the woman in the article and for the editor who dared to publish her story was alarming.
Politics is downstream of culture. While free speech is currently protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution, I worry that our culture is shifting away from the values that uphold this precious right by calling for censorship. While it is true that Facebook is a private company that has the right to do what they want, it is also true that Facebook acts as a public square for people to share information and have open conversations about important topics. However, it is no longer an open forum when people are shut out of the conversation. If our culture not only accepts, but calls for censorship and profile deletion of anyone that they deem disagreeable, then I fear that our First Amendment rights will also soon be deleted.
It is frightening to think that so many people willingly accept Facebook as the arbiter of truth. Are we willing to allow this company and their algorithms to decide what we see and how we communicate? It might suit your needs today when Facebook is deleting profiles that you find disagreeable, but what about tomorrow when Facebook decides that your profile is the new unmentionable?
The spirit of free speech allows people to speak their mind without the threat of being silenced. Instead of insisting that unfavorable ideas are shut down, let’s rise to the challenge of a proper debate in an effort to present a better, more sound idea.
-Ellie Hilger, Tillamook