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Losing free speech

Mark Nichols

Crosby

Winter is over with! Right? I took to social media to share my feelings on the cost of electric heat and how expensive it is. As I shared my post with different groups did the social media system want me to confirm why I am sharing the same post. After I responded to the automated questions I was allowed to post again but only to be stopped again after I continued to share my message. If you have a topic that is important to you then you might not expect to get far with social media as you may be blocked with what you want to share.

Have you ever been blocked on social media? Maybe a friend, family member, or business did not like what you shared to their page. With that action you are removed from their followers and that stops you from sharing more of your thoughts and opinions worldwide.

Multiple times I am aware of persons being sent to “social media jail” because the social media system did not like what they had posted or shared. Wow! Can you imagine “going to jail” over something you said? None of us should want to promote anything hateful but if you are not careful and share the wrong thing then your social media account could be blocked, suspended, or removed because the owner of the system only wants you to use the system in the way they see fit. Even popular public figures have been removed from social media as of late. And without another “soap box” to stand on you are left without an audience or limited to the rules these private companies make for their users and that may limit what you may and may not be allowed to say.

And these social media systems are less likely to allow you to share your message to a mass audience if the topic follows abortion, civil rights, crime, economy, energy, the environment, guns, health, immigration, social security, military, taxes, and even “values.” More and more they want you to be “authorized” before you may share or pay to share posts on these and many other topics. That’s right. You must be “authorized” before you are heard!

And as these big media companies merge together and share the same “user agreements” for their services then you may find yourself blocked from everything if you “fail to follow the rules.” Imagine being blocked from social media, your emails, your pictures, videos, apps, or even the online tools you use to run a business. That’s a lot of control over all of us.

Outside of online social media we might consider newspapers and their “letters to the editor” section. But if we don’t support our local journalists then even this public platform could be gone forever!

I suppose I am concerned just how much “free speech” we have when it comes to these online social media services.

Oh, and by the way, have I told you how expensive my electric heating bill is?

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