What can we do about it, though?While Facebook, Twitter, et al. are theoretically “private” companies, they’re vulnerable to retaliation through regulation or even prosecution should they defy their would-be masters in government. And the biggest players also seek the prize of “regulatory capture” — getting government on THEIR side in ways that prevent new competitors from cutting into their market share. Short of abolishing the state itself (which I’m all for), there’s only one way to get the Donald Trumps, Joe Bidens, Josh Hawleys, and Adam Schiffs out of the social media bullying business.
We need to take away their social media access. Completely.For obvious reasons, Facebook and Twitter aren’t going to do the right thing, which would be to ban all government officials and government employees and block access to all government IP addresses. I’m surprised to hear myself saying “there oughta be a law,” but I guess there’s an exception to every rule. The law I have in mind would impose a long prison term on any public official or government employee caught accessing social media. Collecting a government paycheck? No social media. Not at work, not at home, not on your smartphone, not on your kid’s laptop. If you’re caught looking at Facebook or tweeting, you’re not just fired, you’re going to jail. Like most of my great ideas, this one won’t happen. Such a law would have to be passed by the politicians themselves, and politicians never willingly limit their own power or their own freedom, only yours. So I guess we’re back to abolishing the state, or at least looking for social media platforms that operate beyond the politicians’ reach.
Thomas L. Knapp is the director and senior news analyst for the Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. Knapp is a journalism veteran of over 35 years and a full-time libertarian writer, editor and publisher since 2000.