Letter: Anonymous speech on social media can be regulated
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.
To the editor:
Anonymous speech on a social media platform can be regulated by the private owner of the said platform without violating the First Amendment. This is because the entire Bill of Rights protects us from government tyranny, not the tyranny of Youtube's Terms and Conditions policy.
Yes, if there is a Social Media monopoly, or if it is too complicated or expensive to set up an alternative social media platform, the government has a role to play. But we do not want politicians, no matter their political affiliation, dictating what protected speech can and cannot be expressed on social media.
Consumers can peacefully protest and boycott a social media platform and support another platform that has different policies. That is what makes free market capitalism great.
When the government itself starts to regulate protected speech, we should all take notice because trying to boycott a business is a might easier and less painful than trying to ignore a government law, rule, or regulation. An actual example of this would be the ballot access law.
The secret ballot is not quite so secret. The terms and conditions for running for public office often involve the submission of petition signatures signed by the people. On the surface this makes sense. It's when you get into the fine print that things get a tad bit Byzantine.
Not only are these rules written by incumbents, who have an interest in discouraging competition, but signing a ballot access petition is highly public speech, which may be in favor of an unpopular or unorthodox viewpoint.
More attention should be paid to situations where the government is regulating speech, no matter how anonymous or, in the case of ballot access, public it may be. Our right to a republican form of government is more important than what some right-wing or left-wing fool posts on social media.
Edward TJ Brown
Parkers Prairie MN