By Tyler Bauer
On Monday, content from InfoWars and Alex Jones was removed from a number of big platforms. YouTube, Apple, and Facebook all removed content within hours of each other. According to these companies, content from InfoWars and Alex Jones violated their policies. However, content from InfoWars and Jones has been on these platforms for quite some time, so it is worth questioning why this content suddenly violated their respective policies.
Do Private Companies Have the Right to De-Platform?
Many people claim that it is a violation of the First Amendment when private entities remove content or prohibit certain content from being shared. After all, these entities are keeping people from freely speaking.
The First Amendment applies to the government, not to private companies. Apple has the right to control the content on its platforms, just as I have the right to control the content on this website. Whether you like it or not, YouTube, Apple, Facebook, and every other private business has every right to remove or prohibit certain content.
Should Private Companies De-Platform?
While they have every right to do so, I don't think private companies should de-platform people and organizations. I especially believe this when it comes to companies like YouTube, Apple, and Facebook, whose companies serve as media through which people can communicate. If the concept of a business is to promote communication and interaction, I don't think it's right to pick and choose who can communicate and interact.
Furthermore, I don't think we should be forced to hide or ignore viewpoints. For example, while I oppose Communism, I don't think those who support it should be banned from social media. Instead, I would rather debate the merits of Communism (of which there are none). If an idea is kept in the open and is able to be freely debated, I believe it is much easier to discredit said idea. If we can't talk about Communism, I believe it's much easier for people to forget why ideas like Communism are so bad.
The Problem with De-Platforming InfoWars and Alex Jones
I'm not a fan of Alex Jones. I've never taken him seriously as a news source. If anything, I've only consumed his content because it's so crazy that it becomes entertaining.
The biggest problem with de-platforming Alex Jones is his message. Jones is a conspiracy theorist who tells his followers that the "globalists" are trying to keep the truth - which he speaks, of course - from the masses. De-platforming Alex Jones plays directly into his hands and actually proves him right. YouTube, Apple, and Facebook are all global brands, making it easy to brand them as globalists. So, the globalists took his platform away, and he finally has proof that the globalists are trying to silence his message.