I’ve always been proud of Twitter and Tumblr – they promote free speech – while other Internet titans (Google, Apple, FaceBook) actually aggressively suppress free speech. It is a surprisingly hard road to follow to be truly supportive of free speech and free expression, but it is the right road.
Adults in this “free country” of America – designed on the principle of tolerance – should not be told what they can read, see, like or dislike – that is the point of being both free and being an adult.
But free speech requires that we act like adults, something we are less and less able to do it seems. On one hand, as a culture, we embrace censorship and some of the most valuable companies in the world have made their fortune by making the Internet “safe” for adults as part of their core business plan (Apple and FaceBook). Yet we also see brave souls willing to defend freedom of speech in the face of tremendous pressure (the ACLU is defending the KKK in a lawsuit… I mean, go figure).
In relation to Internet companies, let’s get back to Twitter. Its goal and mission is to support free speech and it has done an excellent job of it. In spite of not following the heavy censorship foundation that most other Internet companies do, Twitter became a household name and… guess what… the world didn’t end after all. In fact, users around the world have used Twitter to express themselves much to the chagrin of their own governments. On Twitter, users can choose to follow, or not to follow, what they want – exactly as it should be.
So, now Twitter unleashes a video service Vine – and immediately Twitter has to backpedal on their support of free speech. Because Americans are so very deeply offended to the core over nudity, even Twitter has resorted to hiding adult content from adults. Of course, they don’t have to worry about pictures of real beheadings, torture, mass murder, child killings, eating people, or whatever – because obviously that’s not as offensive as a nipple.
But what really bothers me is how the press reports this. The press was so “pro free speech” when fighting SOPA, but none of the articles about “porn” get a single word of defense of free speech – not one. It is just part of the American culture that “clearly” porn is wrong while the most depraved violence is accepted and encouraged.
I’m saddened to see Twitter start to bend and break, but I suppose it is inevitable. Having balls in the Internet world and really supporting free speech isn’t easy. Ironically, our country was founded on a principle that we can’t really practice. In some ways, it is a terrible joke and a shameful legacy we have created. People need to learn to grow up – if you don’t like something, just don’t pay attention and move on. Getting all righteous and enforcing your will on others is *exactly* the wrong thing to do.
Till next time,