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Social Media Censorship and the Free Market

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Unnamed (6)Economics predicts that conservatives will migrate to (or create) new social media platforms in response to blocking by Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Donald Trump recently unveiled his. But this response takes time and serious harm can occur in the interim.

Short-run harm may not be repaired for two reasons. First, unprecedented government infringement of freedom provides a focal point for organizing citizen protest. Enforcing limits on government is an economic public good: We all benefit when government obeys the Constitution, regardless of whether we help enforce the limits. Citizens will want to exploit natural advantages to offset free riding. As economist Thomas Schelling demonstrated, focal points help spontaneously organize cooperation. Short-term disruption of communication can deprive citizens of a natural focal point in defending our rights.

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