Randall Munroe wasn’t wrong when he wrote, “The right to free speech means the government can’t arrest you for what you say. It doesn’t mean anyone else has to listen to your bullshit, or host you while you share it…. If you’re yelled at… or get banned from an internet community your free speech rights aren’t being violated.”
But he was incomplete.
When the state allows the online world to become the near-exclusive domain of a small coterie of tech execs, with the power to decide on matters of speech – to say nothing of all the other ways in which our rights are impacted by the policies on their platforms, everything from employment to education to romance to (obviously) privacy – for all the rest of us, they are making policy.
Because inaction in the face of danger is a form of action.
A restored internet is one that values pluralism (power diffused into many hands) and self-determination (you get choose which tech you use and how you use it).
It’s time to stop trying to fix the platforms and time to start working on fixing the internet.