Germany is giving us an advance view of the scenery a little further up the road of pressuring social media and other Internet companies to censor their users, as Tim Newman notes on his blog. The Northern European country has determined to fine companies that allow “hate speech” on their networks, which has the side effect of banning opposition parties. The ambiguity of the criteria has the effect of casting nets much more broadly than the definitions that were, presumably, sold to the public. Newman writes:
This is a feature, not a bug. The German government and those who would emulate them want the social media companies to self-censor everything that doesn’t explicitly conform to progressive standards of right-think. That way they can hold their hands up, adopt an innocent face, and say “We never told them to censor X, Y, Z”.
And when the need arises, the definitions will change.
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It would be a mistake, though, for progressives to take comfort in a faith that their self-evident virtue will always protect them from prosecution and banishment. These sorts of torpedoes have a way of circling back around to the ideological vessels that fired them.