Blayne Haggart, Associate Professor of Political Science at Brock University, had a commentary piece recently published by Global News about the possibility of creating multilateral regulation of global social media platforms by democratic countries.
“The fact that Twitter’s decision to ban permanently U.S. President Donald Trump from its platform is being treated almost as consequentially as the actual armed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol highlights a growing awareness of the power of internet platforms and internet infrastructure companies in setting the rules that govern Americans’ lives.
Twitter’s assertiveness — echoed by Apple, Google and Amazon’s decision to ban the right-wing social media app Parler from their respective businesses — is much more than an American story. As global platforms, this newfound willingness to censor problematic speech and problematic actors will almost certainly inform how they conduct their business in the rest of the world.
Watching this debate unfold from outside the U.S. has been an odd experience. It’s a very American debate: American platforms reacting to an attempted coup spurred by the sitting U.S. president, in the context of the particular U.S. legal system and an ideology that treats free speech as a paramount, almost sacred, value. Discussions of what to do about these platforms centre on reforms to U.S. laws, notably Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, as well as U.S. preferences for market-based solutions — such as enforcing anti-trust law — to public-policy problems.”
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