, 9 tweets, 2 min read
The concept of social media as the Fifth Estate may be the most enduring part of Zuck's speech yesterday.

As the Fourth Estate, the press self-conceptualizes its role as holding society accountable.

As the Fifth Estate, social media is how society holds the press accountable.
In a sense this is how things already work, though it’s usually characterized negatively.

Journalists publish & social media provides immediate accountability. It’s the comments section that can’t be shut down, the critic that can’t be shut up.

Unless you censor social media…
The issue is bigger than Facebook, as big as it is. It extends to every platform that provides people a voice.

Should tech companies accede to demands from their direct competitors (namely media companies) to censor millions of users?

Or should they stand for free speech?
Of course social media has contributed to all kinds of issues. Polarization, online mobs, riots, offline violence.

But it’s also given a voice to billions. You can’t take that voice away. It’s like disenfranchising someone.
The right to voice is as important as the right to vote.
You can’t have an “informed citizenry” if citizens can’t inform other citizens.
If a plebiscite was held, few people would want to give up their own right to voice on social media.

They may want to silence someone else, but they would not want to give up their own right.

Nor should it be taken away without good reason and due process.
In the long term, I think the outcome of this “debate” over whether the masses should have a voice is already preordained.

End-to-end encryption and crypto will see to that. We’re just buying time till the cavalry comes.
Future historians will write about how this last ditch anti-speech Luddism was doomed from the start.

You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. You won’t take away the voices newly gained by billions.

Because to be against technology is to be on the wrong side of history.
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