Recently, it was decided that the President of the United States was using a social media platform called Twitter, to incite violence and misinformation. As users of social media platforms, we agree to their Terms of Service (ToS) when we download their products and utilize them.
Social media is relatively new for many of us, replacing newsprint, radio and television on a massive scale. Small town newspapers, such as The Chronicle, are probably on the same path as the horse and carriage or the rotary phone; becoming novelty and dusty, outdated history. However, before we toss them into the rubbish bin (another outdated term), maybe we should ensure our legal system catches up with the technology.
So, who exactly decided that POTUS violated the terms of service? Did he do what they claim he did? Does he have any rights as applied to the First Amendment? What if the owners of The Chronicle decided my opinion was inciteful? They don’t have to publish my opinion piece, but do I have any recourse to challenge their removal of my freedom of speech? What if the editor of The Chronicle decided to publish my opinion article, but the corporate owners then came down and decided The Chronicle and their readership were too liberal or conservative in their views and they simply disbanded the newspaper?
What if the credit card company I use to purchase my subscription to The Chronicle decided that the newspaper was too radical by their standards, or the foreign company which funded the corporation took umbrage with an opinion piece, and decided to censure or terminate the newspaper? Do you think this is unlikely?
In April of 2018, Citibank implemented a Firearms Vendor Policy, which stated that their credit card could not be used to purchase legal firearms and ammunition through legal online vendors. So, if you utilized that company, your Second Amendment rights were being limited, not by vote, or legislative action, or Constitutional amendment, but by a corporation.
What if a foreign power took control of more American pay-point systems, ATMs, BitCoin transactions, name the financial option; and they decided no firearms, or cheese or hair dryers could be purchased with their payment system? Something to think about.
In the meantime, Twitter users have opted to transition to a different social media platform, Parler, which has already been defined as follows: “Parler is an American microblogging and social networking service launched in August 2018. Parler has a significant user base of Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, conspiracy theorists and right-wing extremists,” as defined by the results of a Google search.
So, in response to that platform, Google, as of this writing, and eventually Apple, will remove that application for access from their sites. Own a Google or iPhone, and your freedom of speech is yet again, revoked. At some point, we will have to stand up for our rights, as citizens, because what happens today, matters tomorrow. What impacts one political party today, impacts all political parties tomorrow. If it makes you chuckle when those with opposing views lose their freedoms, consider the response when your own are lost.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR