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Parler, Free Speech and the case for moderation – but who should do it?

From: Google suspends ‘free speech’ app Parler – BBC News:

Google has suspended “free speech” social network Parler from its Play Store over its failure to remove “egregious content”.

It’s been a busy weekend for Parler, seeing themselves removed from Google Play, the Apple App Store, and having their underlying hosting services revoked by AWS. Effectively the ‘unbiased’ free speech advocating social networking platform is dead.

It should be said that I’m based in the UK, we have freedom of speech here, much like the US, and we have the same problems as much of the Western World does, the illusion that Freedom of Speech also provides Freedom from Consequence. It doesn’t and shouldn’t in my opinion, and nor does it offer you a guarantee that you will have a platform to share that speech.  Prior to blocking the app Apple had warned them that they needed to moderate their content, the opposite of Parler’s goal, should Apple be able to dictate that?  Possibly not, but certainly they do have the rights to remove the app, it’s their storefront.

Private companies such as Facebook, Twitter (who have both banned Donald Trump over last weeks events at the Capitol) can choose who can and can’t use their services, there is no given right to access, which is what has led to services like Parler springing up, promising no bias, and full freedom (as is their right) – but as they have discovered – there are other private companies further up the chain who have rights to choose what traffic and content goes through their systems. Of course these private companies are also subject to external pressure, political, social, religious and more, but ultimately they have power over your ‘Freedoms’ and some people are not happy about this.

For me I’m in the camp that if it’s got to the point that your hosting provider says your content is bad, then it’s better off unseen. There are other hosting providers, if they aren’t happy either then maybe you should take the hint.

I won’t miss Parler