A few weeks back I went off on a tirade about science fiction and at one point referenced how the Bible could be viewed as a science fiction text. 

More specifically, I mentioned the story of the Tower of Babel as a possible metaphor for the creation of the internet. 

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(3) comments

Bruce Carpenter

Regulation of speech and content to attempt to enforce its responsibility always reverts to a challenge of designating an authority or standard to determine what is responsible and what is not. Ultimately we are all reduced to becoming our own determiners of those standards by choosing what we both take on and what we publish or share with others. One of the major challenges I believe the internet has introduced is a lack of transparency and anonymity. In order to choose content wisely it would help to have a clear understanding of its source and the reason why it is “pushed” to those seeing it. Note the carefully chosen use of the term pushed. With the virtually unlimited range of content available on the internet, choice by content consumers of what to view or consumers largely relegated to opaque algorithms controlled by large tech or media companies. Unlike a newspaper or magazine who brands their content, social media is a forum of largely anonymous open content in which it is often difficult if not impossible to determine the source of information and hence make responsible choices about what to take on or share.

I am not sure how to solve this challenge of a lack of transparency and web anonymity, but it must at least begin with each of us trying our best to make responsible choices about what we consume and what we share.

Richard Johnson

I think you miss understand the Internet and the services. Those services like Facebook and twitter are private property, owned by the shareholders, and accessed like you would a mall. The service owner has every right to prohibit anything that disrupts the use that they agree with in their service (Just as a Mall owner has the right to prohibit things or people from accessing their property.) Now, I agree with you that we should prohibit any publicly owned space from censoring free speech. But those "services" are not publicly owned, just accessed by the public wanting to use their service. Just because they are popular doesn't mean you have any right to deprive the property owner of their rights. You may pass a law that they put up a splash page that warns the public that they will be censored at the discretion of the site's owners. But, that is as far as you can go. Nothing stops anyone, anywhere from putting up a competing site that either doesn't censor, or censors to the opposite political view. Just think of it as a similar thing to AARP, a private service that is very popular but support leftist causes. AMAC was made to compete with them, and supports conservative causes. AARP was first, and is a lot more popular, but someone that wants their services can go elsewhere. That is what should happen to Facebook, and twitter. That is how we regulate it.

Jack McKinney

It’s a private platform on a public forum, a lot of gray area there. Maybe a good analogy would be the quiz show scandal of the 1950’s.

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