Our major Social Media sites, for all intents and purposes, is committing a slow suicide. I am speaking specifically about Facebook, Twitter, Google and their various subsidiaries. Let me explain why.
There are laws out there that define and regulate “platform” and “publisher” differently. They have different purposes, different objectives and different liabilities.
A “platform” by its very nature has no agenda, no bias and on its’ own no regulation. Think of a stage in a park or the town square, where anyone can get on it and proclaim to all the world whatever they want to say. It is a true state of freedom-of-speech. You can say whatever you want to say and everyone in the area can pay attention or ignore you as it pleases them.
A “publisher,” however, is a totally different thing. A newspaper is a publisher. It provides a product that others can purchase. The owners of the newspaper, because they front the money for the printing press, the ink and the distribution, has the absolute right to control what goes into their product. It is within their power to publish or not publish anything they want. They have the legal ability to negotiate a contract with someone who wrote an article and obtain an “exclusive-right” license for that article, if the author agrees to that contract. “Exclusive-right” meaning only the publisher can use it, the author can no longer decide when and where it is published. If the publisher has that “exclusive-right” for that article, they can publish it in the newspaper… or never publish it, effectively silencing that author on that subject.
If the author were to take that article (or a similar one) to another publisher, then legal entanglements might abound over copyright, Intellectual Property and contract laws. You might want to read the story of “Famous Amos” and his cookies. Because of licensing issues, he cannot every use his name or likeness on any products he makes now.
In summary, platform == no control, publisher == total control.
Facebook, Twitter and others have repeatedly proclaimed “WE ARE A PLATFORM!” The facts, however, indicate otherwise.
Twitter has admitted that they “shadow ban” Conservatives, YouTube has curtailed Conservative channels, Facebook routinely not publishes and bans Conservative pages.
By performing these actions these Social Media sites have crossed that line from platform to publisher. Publishers do not enjoy the same the legal protections as platforms. When Social Media claims to be a platform but acts as a publisher, the end will not be beneficial to those companies.