Disclaimer: I'm not interested in USA left vs right struggle, not interested in politics surrounding this issue or anything else like that. I am interested in sharing the real issue at the heart of this topic that too many people are unable to see because they look at it through a political lens.
So, dearest readers, what's the real problem here? Are Twitter or Facebook politically biased, anti free speech and increasingly infringing on our rights and freedoms? Many people I talk to, regardless of what world view they are coming from, would say yes (to a varying degree of certainty, as these things usually go). Since I am not in politics, and I tend to be clever and business-minded from time to time, I see things a little more clearly. Facebook started out as a replacement for the competitive, fractured market of the dot com era where we had a gold rush for companies to sell people website design, hosting and domain services so you can have your own personal website where you can share things about you with anyone who knows your web address. Facebook made that business model go broke by offering people a similar service for free, available through a single portal and having a search function where you could find other people you know if they have a page too, and stay in touch with them. Then, they added on extensions, fun apps, games and more and more communications options. They also monetized it with ads and allowed companies, organizations, fan clubs and so on to have pages too. It was expanding to cover everything and anything in the public sphere. Twitter started off as a micro-blogging platform that works excellent as a notification system for businesses and the government, as well as celebrities and news groups. It's quick, posts are shorter than articles like mine haha, and it's all about here and now. Then, Twitter expanded to encompass a lot more aspects of the public sphere as well, and it monetized the platform with ads- same as Facebook.
So far, we have therefore established a refresher on the fact that both Facebook and Twitter have far outgrown their original purpose, in a years long fit of unrestrained market capitalism. Good for the employees and shareholders, right? This, dearest readers, is the heart of the real problem with both platforms. The people running them made a huge mistake by not defining what their platforms are NOT MEANT FOR! Do you see what complete and utter idealistic, money and power hungry idiocy this is? Sorry if I sound harsh, but there's no gentler way of putting it. Who says that both platforms had to get into politics? Who says they had to get into sensitive topics? Nobody, that's who. Nobody forced them to kick every single hornet's nest of public discourse, yet they did it again and again, never learning a single valuable lesson from it. Had they learned something, Zuckerberg and Dorsey would not have to testify in front of Congress, that's for sure.
Why did they do it, what's the real reason they are in a precarious situation today, as well as their shareholders? Greed, nothing else. If you declare your platforms are good for all sorts of discussions, you get maximum growth and maximum ad revenue. Facebook didn't say hey, let's not allow any political talk on our platform, no pages from political parties, no political campaign ads whatsoever. We won't get ad revenue from that category, some other platform will pick it up, but we will benefit in the long run. Twitter could have similarly allowed only the largest news agencies to have accounts and have their algorithm remove opinion pieces from their platform because they are truly a hornet's nest of epic proportions. Bottom line, if both platforms clearly stated which entire public discussion categories are not meant for them, things would have been a lot better. Sure, you lose some ad revenue, but you get to live a long time as companies and viable platforms. You take a holistic approach to your business model and take control of greed so that maximizing profit doesn't kill you well before it's your time to die of natural causes (as all companies eventually do...).
The bottom line, dearest readers, is that Facebook and Twitter are platforms that offer us things we supposedly want to use, and we pay for things with our personal data. Simple as that. As such, we need them to tell us broad categories of conversation and activity that are allowed, and we need them to take other broad categories and remove them altogether instead of censoring people inside tricky categories on a case by case basis and getting in trouble for it. That way, as long as you're not breaking the law of the country you're in, you can express yourself on social media any way you want as long as the category you express yourself in is one of the categories that the platforms accept as part of their business model. If you think that's too restrictive, consider other businesses that have been doing it for ages. Supermarket: No shirt no shoes no service; Public transit: Stay behind the yellow line at all times; Roller coasters: You must be this tall to ride; the list goes on. We are used to following the rules set by businesses as long as those rules are clear, reasonably easy to understand and communicated well and repeatedly to us. As long as we follow the rules and we pay for a product or service, WE EXPECT TO BE SERVED, AND SERVED WELL! Maybe Facebook and Twitter need to learn how business is really done and overhaul their system before our portfolios suffer ;)