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article imageOp-Ed: Facebook — Censorship, common sense and nonsense

By Alexander Baron     Dec 28, 2012 in Politics
Reports that Facebook is censoring Architects for 9/11 Truth and other whackos is a complete misunderstanding of the meaning of both censorship and truth.
The censor was an officer of the Roman Empire, and he has been very busy from then up until the present day. Every play performed on the stage in England used to need the approval of the Lord Chamberlain. It was only with the Theatres Act 1968 that this requirement was abolished, but don't think that was the end of censorship here. In 1972, the BBC banned the Paul McCartney song Give Ireland Back To The Irish, not on account of its terrible lyrics but because of its political content. To this day certain so-called political extremists face censorship, the current bogeyman being Islamism.
Censorship is not entirely unknown in the so-called land of the free either, as Lenny Bruce, Larry Flynt, and many others have discovered to their cost.
It should therefore come as no surprise that Facebook is said to be censoring its content, but the word censor (and declensions thereof) is a misnomer, because Facebook is not owned by the American Government, nor is it controlled by that government any more than is any other law-abiding corporation or individual. As most people will know, Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, and although he took the company public a while back, he still owns over 28% of it.
That holding and his position as CEO mean that within reason he can do what he likes with the company, and if he doesn't want to give the likes of Richard Gage and company a platform for their lunatic views, why should he? By and large Facebook takes a Libertarian position on the antics of those who use its site, as does YouTube. This has led to its taking flak from both Harold Covington - America's leading Nazi theorist - and those who have accused it of practising Apartheid. Damned if it does, damned if it doesn't. Does this mean though that it is obliged to host Richard Gage?
Clearly not. Although like everyone else it is in business to make money, Facebook is first and foremost a social networking site. That does not mean it is obliged to act as a megaphone for Gage or anyone else who can't accept the simple facts of September 11, 2001, that 19 men armed with boxcutters hijacked four planes, that two of these planes were crashed into the Twin Towers, and that the combined momentum, structural damage and fires brought down first both these enormous buildings, and then, indirectly, another building seven hours later after it too had suffered serious structural damage from both the debris of the Twin Towers' collapse and uncontrolled fires.
Neither Zuckerberg nor Facebook is obliged to carry these sort of de facto adverts for 9/11 Truth lunacy, nor is the Westboro Baptist Church obliged to advertise the Mardi Gras, nor is the American Vegan Society obliged to give space to Chick-fil-A on its website.
If Richard Gage wants to preach his gospel to the world, he is perfectly entitled to set up his own website - oh, he has!
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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