Facebook was knowingly vehiculized to manipulate the US 2016 election. As of now, social media have acted in panic and in penance. The attention to fake news ensued, and as such the real issue got sidetracked into a question of what content to suppress. This was never the real issue.
The issue is that no private organization should be in a position to make that call. Meanwhile legislators across the globe are soundly asleep. With the latest Infowars/Alex Jones- affair we witness another example of the pattern of random reaction of social media. For the record, I believe Infowars/ Alex Jones is indeed a virulent cancer to democratic institutions and real journalism, however reflective of the well-known underlying pathology in American demographics and distribution of wealth. It obscures the much greater and real danger – leaving the safeguard of constitutional rights in the hands of social media; notably Facebook and their subsidiaries.
Freedom of speech has been usurped, the rule of law circumvented, and democracy manipulated. Social media such as Facebook enjoying in effect a global monopoly can – and they do – make arbitrary decisions on freedom of speech based on public opinion and dubious company policies that cannot in any way replace proper legal regulation and processing. Thirdly, you can’t sue them, you can’t complain – good luck trying to contact their non-existent support. Your constitutional and a basic human rights to expression are left with an automated generic response.
Extrapolating on the basis of the number of cases that actually surface one must assume Facebook violate the freedom of speech on a daily basis with impunity. In acknowledgement of their global size and pervasive impact, social media must be required to fulfill basic legal requirements on structure, procedure and materiality that guarantee that complaints and responses made on freedom of speech issues are processed in accordance with basic legal rights. These democratically mandated legal requirements should also extend beyond `company policy´.
As an organization with no legal structure in place to safeguard basic rights on freedom of speech, legislators have left it to players such as Facebook to make arbitrary make decisions on the most fundamental rights that concern the population of the entire globe.