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Free Speech Means Free Speech




Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is doing a poor job on speech. Bradley A. Smith writes:

Twitter’s new policy, and Dorsey’s explanation for it, demonstrate a muddled understanding of the purpose of speech. Dorsey worries that Twitter advertising might influence voters—but influencing people is the essence of speech in a free society, and persuading others is presumably why Dorsey sent out a tweet stream explaining himself. Removing a major source of low-cost political advertising from Twitter harms those who don’t yet have a large audience but are looking for an inexpensive way to reach voters and identify new supporters. By Dorsey’s logic, free speech should be allowed only when it is ineffective.

Dorsey thinks that government restraints on speech would be a good idea. He wants “regulators” to “ensure a level playing field.” Does that mean limiting the dollars that Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can raise online? Does it require MSNBC and CNN to give equal time to conservative voices? Does it require Twitter to deactivate overly influential accounts? Limit their number of tweets concerning “issues?” How level must the field be, and who determines both the standard and when it has been reached? A primary reason why the Founders adopted the First Amendment was their recognition that we couldn’t trust government to decide what is “fair.”

[Bradley A. Smith, “Free Speech Means Free Speech,” City Journal, November 1]



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