Letter to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News

In response to the opinion column, “Destruction of free speech in America“, from October 28, 2020. My response below was published on October 30, 2020. Links have been added to this version to provide more context.

Dale Courtney has referred to the Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion song, “WAP”, as misogynistic in both of his previous two opinion pieces (October 19 and October 28).

I would suggest he listen to “WAP” again and study the lyrics in the context of the entire song, which is very much one of sexual empowerment. Each line is literally an explanation of things two strong young women want and enjoy. Out in public, it may make a scene, but it is not a song of hate or prejudice against women.

The Daily News content policy likely prevents me from breaking down the song much further. I could claim this suppresses my right to free speech, but it doesn’t. I remain able to publish my thoughts elsewhere or speak them aloud without fear of being stopped by the government.

Social networks like Twitter and Facebook have a lenient approach to the publishing of content. Anyone can sign up. It’s free. The product is you and in exchange you can share your thoughts.

One trouble with this approach has been the amplification of content by algorithm. These platforms’ algorithms were created to increase engagement and revenue rather than to prevent hate and misinformation. A side effect has frequently been the unchecked spread of hate and misinformation.

There is plenty to discuss around freedom of speech on the internet and how it should be protected. Platforms taking minor steps to prevent their algorithms from spreading misinformation unchecked is not the destruction of free speech in America.

Freedom of amplification is not the same thing as freedom of speech.

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