Trump supporters—and certainly Trump himself—might complain about what Twitter and Snap did. But the companies are exercising their rights under 230 exactly in the way that the law permits.
Zuckerberg should take note. Yes, it’s crazy for one person to have such massive control over what people say online. But like it or not, our system gives leaders of huge corporations massive power. In his total control of Facebook, he must be the arbiter—of harm. We must demand that he perform that role in the best possible way, minimizing the toxic speech posted by his customers, whether they are peons or presidents. His employees are speaking out. His billions of users should let him know as well. And the government should back off.
Thirteen years ago, I wrote about Facebook for a Newsweek cover story. Only a few months earlier, the company had welcomed all users, not just students, and introduced the News Feed. Its CEO, not yet a billionaire, explained to me why adults would take to the service, and that he wasn’t in it for the money:
Zuckerberg himself, whose baby-faced looks at 23 would lead any bartender in America to scrutinize his driver’s license carefully before serving a mojito, eschews talk about money. It’s all about building the company. Speaking with Newsweek between bites of a tofu snack, he is much more interested in explaining why Facebook is (1) not a social-networking site but a “utility,” a tool to facilitate the information flow between users and their compatriots, family members and professional connections, (2) not just for college students, and (3) a world-changing idea of unlimited potential. Every so often he drifts back to no. 2 again, just for good measure. But the nub of his vision revolves around a concept he calls the “social graph.”
Ask Me One Thing
Rob of Durango, Colorado, asks, “Is there any social media platform that has reasonable speech standards which it enforces? If so, I’ll go there.”