Updated: Mar 13
JT Bogden - What does censorship, cancel culture, and the tattletale society have in common? All are about quelching disagreement, discourse, dissent, and free speech. This is an attempt to control the conversation and promote a narrative regardless of merit. In fact, assessing the merit is not desirable as those seeking to control the narratives are utopians and ideologues who can only see the dream and are not grounded in reality. Often there is little to no merit to their narrative.
Social media outlets attempt to control the conversation while at the same time promoting their narrative or a narrative they are sympathetic towards. Facebook issued this response to an advertisement rejection.
Your ad may have been rejected because it mentions politicians or is about sensitive social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote, and may impact the election or pending legislation.
The point of any discussion regardless if interpersonal, written, an advertisement, or any other form of communication is to influence by sharing information, knowledge, or wisdom. While Facebook insisted that the people behind the advertisement are known which is an entirely different issue this is still an attempt to control the conversation.
The American Forefathers embraced the notion of the public sphere where common citizens could discuss matters traditionally held for nobility. The public sphere was a place where ideas, thoughts, and views could be openly presented and discussed. Bad ideas, thoughts, or views would fade away. While good ideas, thoughts, or views would persist then make their way into government. The public sphere is the apex of free speech and a timeless concept. In the days of the American Founders and the Enlightenment, the public sphere was often in coffee houses. The citizens of the American Revolution period published books, newspapers, letters, and would orate their positions and views. The public assessed the value of what was being said, not the coffee houses.
Today during contemporary times, the public sphere is supported by the World Wide Web technology. Social media companies are not unlike the coffee houses as both skimmed on the conversation to make money. Unfortunately, many social media companies and the elitist behind them attempt to control the conversation today.
The Cluetrain Manifesto discusses controlling conversations. If a company tries to control the conversation, the conversation will continue to the detriment of the controlling entity as the public sphere belongs to the public. No one can control the conversation, they can only participate in the conversation as an equal (Weinberg, 2000).
Jonathan Turley who is an author and George Washington University Professor said, "The Aspen report is the latest evidence of a building anti-free speech movement in the United States. It is a movement that both rejects core free speech values and seeks to normalize censorship (Unruh, 2021, p 11). "
Let us look more closely at Censorship, Cancel Culture, and the TattleTell Society.
In the United States, historically free speech has been limited. Remarks that incited panic such as shouting 'fire!' in a crowded theater when there is no fire or threatening a crime such as making death threats are prohibited. Nonetheless, free speech is not normal or ordinary in this world. As of 2018, the world's countries that surveil and censor internet information were mostly totalitarian regimes including secular humanist governments and theocracies such as Islamic Caliphates, Figure 1. However, three years later, surveillance and censorship have increased as evidenced by the sheer number of bannings or de-platforming from social media mostly based on partisan ideology and narratives but these platforms lack competent authority to discern the truth.
FIGURE 1: Internet Censorship and Surveillance by Country as of 2018. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_and_surveillance_by_country
Social media platforms claim to be stopping rumors and misinformation but lack any competency in making such assessments. Teams that assess the information for accuracy have no competent authority on them to assess truth, misinformation, or otherwise rumors. For example, Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor and foremost authority on mRNA gene therapy technology was de-platformed from social media because he made comments not consistent with the political left's narrative. The de-platforming had nothing to do with the truth or accuracy of the information. Dr. Malone's position is that social media is not competent to make assertions about truth and, in fact, suppress the free speech of competent authority. Dr. Malone has had attack articles discrediting him and the de-platforming in an attempt to cancel his views despite being the competent authority.
The Cancel Culture
The Cancel Culture is a form of ostracizing persons who hold competitive views to the ostracizer. This culture persists when the ostracizer has no basis for the belief or their opinion nor is there any reason for anyone else to believe in their opinion. Nonetheless, the holders of the belief insist on imposing their views on others who hold competitive views by marginalizing the opposing view holders, the ostracized. The culture is vindictive and revengeful character quality of these cancel proponents.