Jordan Peterson is possibly wrong here. Banning Alex Jones was bad for Facebook because now a lot of people are (temporarily) pissed at Facebook. However, it’s not like Facebook is in a difficult position of having to decide who to ban or not. Facebook, Twitter, Apple, YouTube, etc. constantly ban. They have no trouble banning. If they want someone gone, they will be gone. They are used to negative press, knowing that it will be temporary and the same people who are screaming ‘censorship’ in a few weeks will return. Look at the manufactured outrage by the left-wing media six months ago over Facebook and Cambridge Analytics. Hardly anyone talks about it anymore and Facebook stock has recovered. When Trump tweeted about Amazon costing the USPS ‘big money’, you can be sure many of the same people who retweeted it probably shopped on Amazon later. As a Facebook shareholder who has owned the stock since 2012, I am not worried about this.
Dr. Peterson asks “how can Facebook and YouTube police their content without creating far more trouble than they will save”
Dude…they have no problem doing that. It’s as if he’s confusing Facebook (a company) for U.C. Berkeley (a public institution bound by free speech laws). Facebook and Google can do what they want, and as shown by the constantly soaring share prices of Facebook and Google, they seem to know what they are doing. No one cares if Stormtrooper Steve, Alt-Right Alex, or Klansman Karl who have 1,000 followers each gets banned. Banning Alex Jones was a mishaps because he is far more popular (and courts the fine-line of respectability by avoiding the JQ, WQ, and other ‘live wires’ and protected groups) than those people, so there is a lot of coverage, but, as always, the outrage will die down and people will forget.
“Signing their own death warrant” I doubt it.
Again, these social networks have no consternation going after small guys. They will even go after bigger ones (such as Alex Jones) on occasion. They backed off of Stefan Molyneux after significant push-back. These networks know if they ban too many big right-wing accounts at once, their political agenda will be exposed, so much so that even the normies will start noticing, and that is not what they want.
Then the second question is, should Facebook be treated as utility. My answer is no. Utilities and public goods are local and national, but Facebook and other social networks are global. Would the protections that apply to Americans apply to foreigners who use the sites. A better solution is for the ‘right’ to create their own platforms, which is obv. much easier said than done, but I think more effective than being at the mercy of Facebook. The suggestion that the right build their platforms is by now so over-worn and tired that it sounds as unoriginal and unhelpful those who defend social network censorship on ‘free market’ grounds. A better approach will be discussed later.
Then towards the end Dr. Peterson says something really interesting. He says the founding fathers didn’t presuppose the wisdom/intelligence of the average people, but rather that the self-determination of average people is better than the alternative. So even if people are sometimes wrong, democracy can self-correct, sorta through trial and error, to the optimal/correct solution. But the mustachioed liberal may be right though in that sometimes ‘the people’ do not know what is best for them, and I would also add that there is no guarantee trial and error will lead to the correct/optimal outcome, and or that the time wasted getting there may make it less worthwhile than just expediting the process. Also, the Untied States is not a direct democracy, but a rather a Constitutional Republic, which means in certain instances the ‘will of the people’ can be overridden, and I think that is part of the genius of the design of the Constitution. The 2008 bank bailouts were very unpopular and if put to a referendum it’s likely that the electorate would have have voted against it, but then the crisis would have possibly lasted much longer and been much deeper than if Congress passed the bailout without deferring to citizens first. In retrospect, despite the unpopularity of TARP and the crisis of hyperinflation and moral hazard by the always-wrong people, is was a success and the money was repaid with a profit in 2011, and the post-2008 bull market and expansion is officially the longest ever.