Megan Keller, The Hill, August 21, 2018
Ben Wizner, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) speech, privacy and technology project, warned Monday that bans against Alex Jones and Infowars could set a dangerous precedent.
Wizner told HuffPost that the hate speech policies many social media companies cited when they banned Jones can be “misused and abused.”
Wizner said companies had a constitutional right to regulate speech on their platforms, but added that hate speech “turns out to be an extremely subjective term.”
“If [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions, for example, were deciding what’s hate speech, he would be less likely to think KKK and more likely to think [Black Lives Matter],” he said.
In particular, Wizner told HuffPost that he is worried about massive private companies holding the power to define that ambiguous category.
“Governments at least purport to be acting solely in the public interest, but platforms are making these decisions based on what’s in their financial interest,” he continued. “So their interest might be in avoiding controversy, but do we want the most important speech platforms in the world to avoid controversy?”