Below is my column in the Hill on the increasing calls for censorship and speech regulation on the Internet. The most recent push on Capitol Hill surrounds the testimony of former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen who alleges that Facebook has been knowingly harming children through promotion and access to certain sites. For some, the testimony follows a type of Trojan Horse pattern where anti-free speech measures are packaged as public safety measures. Before embracing the proposals of these senators, the public needs to think long and hard over what is being lost in these “reforms.” “Caution: Free Speech May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” Such a rewording of the original 1965 warning on tobacco products could soon appear on social media platforms, if a Senate hearing this week is any indicator. Listening to former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen, senators decried how Facebook is literally killing people by not censoring content, and Haugen proposed a regulatory board to protect the public. But before we embrace a new “ministry of information” model to protect us from dangerous viewpoints, we may want to consider what we would lose in this Faustian free-speech bargain.
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