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Yaron Brook Toby Young

Are Social Media Censoring Us? Yaron Brook, Toby Young Debate

Are social media censoring us, or are the companies exercising their own freedom of speech?

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The issue of social media “de-platforming” certain people or views has been a hot topic for the last few years — and even more so recently with the banning of former President Trump from Twitter and Facebook.

A lot of questions still remain: Are social media censoring people? Are the companies right to “de-platform” views they don’t share? Does this constitute a threat to freedom of speech?

These questions and more are addressed in this debate between Yaron Brook, chairman of the board at ARI, and Toby Young, journalist and founder and director of the Free Speech Union.

Among other topics, they debate:

  • Whether there’s such a thing as “censorship by proxy”;
  • The difference between private action and government action when it comes to moderating speech;
  • Whether social media companies’ decisions to “de-platform” certain views constitute censorship or are an exercise of the companies’ own rights to freedom of speech;
  • Government regulation, and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act;
  • The issue of “cancel culture” and how it relates to freedom of speech; and
  • Whether companies that receive government funding should be considered government actors under the First Amendment.

Watch the discussion below.

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Agustina Vergara Cid

Agustina Vergara Cid, LL.B. and LL.M., is a research associate at the Ayn Rand Institute.

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