Opinion: Censorship: Who decides what you see and read online?

May 5, 2021, 6:09 PM
two more utahns have been arrested, US capitol attack commission...
FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, rioters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

Former President Donald Trump won’t be returning to Facebook — at least not yet.

Four months after Facebook suspended Trump’s accounts, having concluded that he incited violence leading to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the company’s quasi-independent oversight board on Wednesday upheld the bans. But it told Facebook to specify how long it would last, saying that its “indefinite” ban on the former president was unreasonable.

The ruling, which gives Facebook six months to comply, effectively postpones any possible Trump reinstatement and puts the onus for that decision squarely back on the company, according to reporting from the Associated Press.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke at a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing last July, touting what he called Facebook’s record on free speech.

“We want to give everyone in the world of voice to share their experiences and ideas. A lot of that is day-to-day things that happen in their lives. Some of it is political. And frankly, I think that we’ve distinguished ourselves as one of the companies that defend free expression the most,” he said.

Think of all the things that took place between July and today in terms of the election, the aftermath of the election, the events of January 6, and on and on.

Political commentator radio host Jimmy Dore, who is a socialist by the way, warned against the danger of championing censorship:

“The censorship, how it starts when you’re happy about it, it never ends up that way. It always ends up you’re unhappy. The first time they censor you’re happy, the second time you’re unhappy,” Dore said.

And the reason you’re unhappy the second time they censor is because they are now censoring — you.

You may like it the first time when they censor your opponents, but you’re going to really, really hate it when they censor you — and that’s just how censorship works in the end.

CNN correspondent Brian Stelter, host of the program Reliable Sources, gives his take on why he actually supports online censorship of certain content.

“We have to turn down the capability of these conservative influencers to reach these huge audiences. While some cry canceled culture, let me suggest a different way to think about this: a harm reduction model,” Stelter said.

That term really makes me nervous, a harm reduction model. Talk about redefining the term censorship. If I disagree with you, and I don’t want to be accused of censoring you because that’s just a bad word. No one wants to be the censor. But we’re doing this as a harm reduction model. Changing something like “censorship” to a “harm reduction model” should make all of us across the political spectrum, across all spectrums, a little bit nervous.

I will leave you with these questions: What happens if the former president decides to run for president again in 2024? Suddenly you have federal election laws in place. What’s the impact of that?


IInside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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Opinion: Censorship: Who decides what you see and read online?