Should a handful of corporations with concentrated power over our speech possess unchecked authority to elevate—or silence—certain people and opinions in the public square?
An attorney at the ACLU doesn’t appear to think so. And neither do we.
On January 6, the nation watched in horror as a violent mob descended on the U.S. Capitol. Just two days later, Twitter permanently suspended President Trump’s account. ADF categorically condemns the riots at the U.S. Capitol. But we should all pause to consider the implications of big tech’s tyranny. As a senior legislative counsel at the ACLU warned: “[I]t should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions,” wrote Senior Counsel Kate Ruane in a statement. “Especially when political realities make those decisions easier.”
With over 340 million users, the most active of whom tend to be journalists, Twitter claims to offer a “ window into what’s happening in the world.” It’s true. News tends to break on Twitter first, and many reporters use Twitter for investigative reporting. Because Twitter has become so important in our news cycle, it’s even more disturbing how this social media giant can skew dialogue and debate by suppressing certain viewpoints.
But this censorship trend isn’t confined to Twitter or other social media giants—it’s run rampant in corporations across the country.
Take Bari Weiss, for example. She was once a writer at The New York Times but resigned after enduring years of mistreatment from her colleagues. After resigning, Wiess wrote, “My own forays into wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist.”
And this at The New York Times, which was once the nation’s paper of record. It’s sadly ironic that journalists with the courage to go wherever the facts lead, and opinion writers whose jobs depend on being able to voice their opinion freely, are being driven out of their jobs for failing to conform to the company line or writing different viewpoints.
Watch below to learn more about the corporate free speech crisis.
Free speech is not only a critical right—it’s a value of American life. And it should be a value we each hold to, motivating us to defend the freedom of others to voice their opinions even when we disagree with them.
Cancel culture is currently making many people feel pressured to make public statements that violate their beliefs or stay silent because they don’t want to risk losing their jobs or friends. This is not the country we want.
We need a country in which we can peacefully disagree with one another despite our differences. Otherwise, our freedom of expression will continue to erode.
Thankfully, you can do something about this right now. You can stand against cancel culture and help defend free speech by signing the Philadelphia Statement today! By doing so, you’ll join the movement that seeks to end ideological blacklisting and put an end to cancel culture once and for all.
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