Everybody practices censorship on some level. Whether it’s self-censorship (a la keeping things professional) or just trying to get others to tone it down, we all know that a certain amount of censorship is needed when it comes to public interactions of any kind.

Of course, in many cases it’s better to just keep your mouth shut rather than offend sensibilities—if you have a tendency to do so. While most would agree that this is a “given,” a lot of companies and businesses are being proactive, and shutting your mouth for you. One can raise a hue and cry that such behavior is “unconstitutional.” And yet, it’s actually not.

In today’s social media landscape, “Terms of Use” map out the terrain. We have to keep in mind that many of these companies (e.g., Facebook and Google) have significant business interests overseas. Many of the shareholders of these companies are not American-based at all. So why would they care about your constitution?

Rather, they care more about protecting the integrity of their product. In a case like Facebook v. Joe Ranter (the wannabe political expert), the decision to delete his rant is often based on standards that transcend any national concern. In this context, “Terms of Use” become a nation unto themselves, with their own laws and regulations and ethics.

Frankly, I don’t use social media anymore. I feel it’s an unhealthy way to interact with one’s peers. Most of it is based on false advertisement anyway. But if you’re that concerned that Big Tech is censoring you, it’s still a free country. You have every right to stop using their services, delete your profile, and go your own way. But who does that?

The more we learn to get comfortable with a platform’s “Terms of Use,” the better we’ll behave. True, stepping on people’s toes is not the unforgivable sin that some make it out to be, but only a troll would do it again and again. And it is Big Tech’s mission to relegate trolls to the prehistoric era where they belong.

While proponents of unbridled free speech may balk at the restrictions placed upon them, it is impossible to deny that “Terms of Use” are helping to shape internet ethics and etiquette. This is a positive thing. As mother always said, if you don’t have something nice to say, you shouldn’t say it at all.

After all, maybe “ranting” is not the best way to communicate with each other. In an environment where words are weighed and measured, thinking before speaking becomes necessary. Yes, you will have to actually consider what you say before you say it.

Some may have a different view. But I believe that, in time, the fuller benefits of a stern-but-motherly “censorship” must be felt by all, rather than merely its drawbacks. The silver lining is just starting to show.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s