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29 Jul, 2019 09:38

Absolute freedom of speech a ‘mythical unicorn’? RT panel debates throttling access to false facts

Absolute freedom of speech a ‘mythical unicorn’? RT panel debates throttling access to false facts

Is there a point where protecting free speech goes too far in allowing falsities to thrive, and if so, should the tech giants use their power over content to stifle demonstrable misconceptions and untruths?

People are, of course, entitled to opinions and beliefs, even those that are not supported by reality. You may believe that the Earth is flat or that the best explanation for dinosaur bones is that God created them to test the faith of Bible literalists. The advancement of the internet has made it so easy to access any viewpoint that some people believe tech giants should put their thumb on the scale and prioritize access to factual information on their platforms – at least when it comes to scientific knowledge.

Anthony Brian Logan, a US conservative YouTuber, is among those who find suggestions such as these unsettling, as it smacks of censorship.

Logan says, “people at YouTube and other places are being told by specific people, ‘Hey, we don’t want to have this kind of view on the website, I need you to kind of filter it out.’”

Political commentator Mo Ansar believes absolute freedom of speech online is a “mythical unicorn,” since the internet is already being manipulated a lot. “False news is out there. Propaganda is out there. Joseph Goebbels would have a field day right now,” he said.

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