Whether your politics are left-leaning or right-leaning, censorship in big tech should concern you. Whether tech companies, like Meta (Facebook) or Twitter, censoring information on their platforms infringes on our First Amendment Rights has been the subject of tense debate in recent years. To fully understand the nuances of both sides of the argument, you must first understand where tech companies fit into the conversation about our First Amendment Rights. Whether you feel you’re not free to express your thoughts online or you’re worried about the long-term constitutional implications of private organizations deciding what opinions can be expressed and not expressed online, continue reading below to learn about censorship in big tech.
Our First Amendment Rights
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees its citizens the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. It reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Breaking down the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, it’s clear that the government is constitutionally prohibited from limiting our right to expression as it relates to speech, the press, religion, and assembly. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press does not, however, guarantee the rights of the press or individuals to express or publish untrue statements that cause harm to others, which is why slander, libel, and defamation laws exist.
Is social media Included in our first amendment rights?
The big constitutional conundrum of our times is whether social media platforms must honor the First Amendment. While these tech giants have provided platforms of expression to billions of users across the planet, they are not the press, and assembling online is not true assembly. Tech companies, even when they’re multi-billion dollar publicly traded companies, have the same rights as any privately owned business. Like any business, social media platforms can refuse their service to anyone. The First Amendment protects citizens’ rights to free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion against government actors. So, by definition, a private actor cannot infringe on your constitutional rights. Social Media platforms have community guidelines that must be followed by their users that are indented to limit harassment, hate speech, and misinformation. In recent years, the line between expressing one’s opinion and spreading misinformation has blurred. During the height of the COVID Pandemic, as new scientific information was released every day that made previous widely held notions obsolete, users were being punished for expressing opinions that went against the latest COVID information.
How to avoid big tech censorship
While no one should intentionally spread misinformation, hate speech, or harass other users, our right to express our opinion is sacred and should be protected. Tech companies have no constitutional or moral obligation to give users a platform to express opinions that may or may not violate their guidelines or go against their agenda as a company. So, how can you safely express your opinion online? Even if you have your own website, if you host with a third-party provider, they have the final say in what you can and cannot say online. To be completely free from online censorship, host your website on privately owned servers like those owned by Thin-nology. For nearly twenty years, Thin-nology has been a proud provider of Private Cloud services. In 2019 we launched our Public Cloud. Our Open Stack, Edge Computing Platform is housed in our own Data Center on our physical Servers. We are part of a federation of privately owned independently operated data centers throughout North America, Europe, and Latin America. This federation allows users of our Public Cloud to move their sites from one Data Center to another seamlessly. We are strong proponents of our First Amendment rights. We host many conservative, liberal, and religious sites that have been censored or removed by big tech. Some companies claim to provide censorship-free infrastructure but fail to do so. We deliver censorship-free tech through our self-owned infrastructure. Others rely on infrastructure owned by big tech. Unless a data center owns the land, the building, the servers, and the cloud platform, they can never be free of censorship. To find out more about website hosting through Thin-nology, click here.