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How Far Should Big Tech Go In Policing Speech?

A photo taken shows the logo of the the American online social media and social networking service, Facebook and Twitter on a computer screen in Lille.
A photo taken shows the logo of the the American online social media and social networking service, Facebook and Twitter on a computer screen in Lille.

Following calls for insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, President Donald Trump’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were suspended or muted. Since then, Twitter has purged thousands of accounts that have spread false information or conspiracy theories concerning the 2020 presidential election.

Now GOP lawmakers are complaining that these private companies are violating their supporters’ free speech rights, echoing a long-held belief among members of the right that Silicon Valley and its affiliated companies are biased towards their liberal counterparts.

Speech and its consequences have long been a topic of discussion as it pertains to the internet, which has often been seen as a safe haven for whoever to say whatever they want. But in the wake of an insurrection, companies with platforms are rethinking their relatively hands-off approach to moderating their content.

Should private companies have this much control over what we can say – and where?  

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5

Kaity Kline
Kaity Kline is an Assistant Producer at Morning Edition and Up First. She started at NPR in 2019 as a Here & Now intern and has worked at nearly every NPR news magazine show since.