Free Speech and Civil Rights Are Inextricably Intertwined

 

by

 

Randolph May

 

Washington Examiner

November 6, 2019

 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Oct. 17 speech at Georgetown University, which he titled “Standing for Voice and Free Expression,” was commended by many as a stand-up job for the First Amendment. And in many ways it was, although we’ve all learned by now that when it comes to Zuckerberg, actions speak louder than words.

 

Zuckerberg’s defense of “giving voice” to people encompassed various categories of expression found on Facebook. But the most controversial aspect of his address was his spirited defense of Facebook’s current position that it will not censor the ads of politicians. Of course, many who oppose President Trump have been clamoring for Facebook to do exactly that – to take down Trump’s political ads based on the claim that they are misleading or untruthful in some way.

 

In defending Facebook’s position, Zuckerberg said, “As a principle, in a democracy, I believe people should decide what is credible, not tech companies.” He went on to add, “Of course, there are exceptions, and even for politicians we don’t allow content that incites violence or risk imminent harm – and of course we don’t allow voter suppression.”

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