Kara Swisher Interviews Mark Zuckerberg

Kara Swisher Interviews Mark Zuckerberg

John Gruber, at Daring Fireball, from his comment on an extract from the interview:

They’re offering a powerful platform that reaches the entire world to lunatics who, in the pre-internet age, were relegated to handing out mimeographs while spouting through a megaphone on a street corner.

The internet has been a greatly democratizing force. You can now share your ideas with anyone anywhere in the world nearly instantaneously. Even China, with a specialized, centralized, actively censored network cannot completely stop people from bypassing their controls to share information. There are, effectively, no gatekeepers who can reliably prevent you from getting your words out to the world.

There’s literally nothing stopping you or anyone else from creating your own web page. Twenty years ago when I was a broke college student I went dumpster diving and cobbled together parts into an experimental Franken-Mac. You can make your own web server out of actual garbage if you want to.

If someone wants to do the internet equivalent of wearing a sandwich board proclaiming “THE END IS NIGH”, they can do it in any number of ways. That’s more or less what Time Cube did until the page’s creator died in 2015.

I am a strong free speech proponent, to the point that I’ve said in the past, “I may think you’re a fucking asshole who doesn’t deserve to share the same oxygen other human beings breathe, but I’ll still fight to the death for your right to express your ideas in public.”

Protecting free speech is not the same thing as providing a platform for that speech. Facebook is not “the internet”, it’s only one large social network; a blue whale in an ocean of information.

It doesn’t matter whether Holocaust deniers believe what they’re saying or not. It doesn’t matter whether the “just asking questions” crowd is actually making an argument in good faith (spoiler: they aren’t). You aren’t obligated to give them a place to speak. Your only obligation is to protect their right to express their ideas in a publicly available forum. The creation of that forum is their responsibility.

There is no reason for Zuckerberg’s company to provide the internet equivalent of a stage, microphone, and TV camera crew to every crank who has an account on Facebook.