We’re really getting to see what this claim about fake news on social media is all about. The definition of fake here is stuff that the people complaining don’t want you to see.
Sure, this video of Nancy Pelosi slurring is fake and pretty obviously so. But taking the piss out of politicians is one of those things we are not just allowed to do in a democracy but which should be encouraged. And the calls for Facebook et al to be censoring this sort of stuff is worrying for what comes next:
The country’s social media giants are taking heat for videos circulating on their platforms that have been altered to show Speaker Nancy Pelosi slurring her words — the latest incident in a roiling debate over what content companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube should allow on their platforms. The Washington Post first reported on the appearance of the videos, finding that footage of an appearance by Pelosi at the Center for American Progress on Wednesday had been slowed 25 percent, in a manner that made Pelosi’s speech seem impaired. One version posted on a Facebook page called Politics WatchDog had been viewed nearly 2 million times as of Thursday evening and sparked comments like, “Omg is she drunk or having a stroke???” and, “She’s drunk!!!!!!”
Sure, Nancy Pelosi won’t like it and people who like Nancy Pelosi won’t like it. But then why shouldn’t people be allowed to say anything they want about the politicians who want to take 25% of everything? Or, obviously, say what they wish about anything at all?
Such concepts as “damage to the public sphere” being not good enough. Direct incitements to violence, sure lets ban ’em. Libel? Already illegal. But once we get to this, not taking the mick out of a politician, where does this stop? We’ve already, for example, seen Google changing the terms upon which anti-abortionists gain access to advertising although not, remarkably, pro abortionists.
Our basic experience from history being that whenever anyone gets the power to determine what may be said then only that amenable to the people deciding may be said. Our only way out of this being that everyone gets to say anything, the filtering being done by the audience.
We just don’t know of any other way to do it.