Psychology professor Jordan Peterson told Breitbart News that social media censorship is a problematic “can of worms” without a “straightforward” solution. He spoke with Breitbart News reporter Alana Mastrangelo on Thursday during Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit in Palm Beach, Florida.
MASTRANGELO: tech companies have been banning users they disagree with Are they underestimating their potential for empowering competition in the marketplace?
PETERSON: Well, I guess we’ll find out. I think they’re facing a very complicated problem. I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last month, or so, especially since Patreon banned Sargon or Akkad, Carl Benjamin, which I think was a big mistake.
It isn’t obvious to me that large-scale social networks are sustainable over any reasonable period of time. I think they’re dealing with an incredibly complicated technical problem, and I think, I’m a free speech advocate, but I’ve spoken to people who run large social networks about such things as not allowing ISIS to recruit using their network, and I would say that most of the people on the conservative side of spectrum would probably agree that that’s a reasonable limitation. So the real issue is where you draw the line, and if it’s drawn in an unbiased manner and if you can come up with policies that are sensible and that don’t cause a backlash. None of that is simple, by any stretch. As soon as you admit that there’s some group that might be doing something on your network that isn’t acceptable, then you have a whole terrible can of worms to deal with.
I think Patreon’s going to take a wicked hit because of what they did to Sargon, because I think they did it badly. I also think that he’s fundamentally a good character. I like his videos and I think he’s a trustworthy problem.
You might also think it about it more broadly as just part of the terrible discussion that’s going to have to occur over the next decade, or so, as all of us adjust to the fact that these massively large-scale social networks exist, and that we really don’t know what the ground rules are, or how to apply them. I mean, I’m not happy with the banning. Google shut me down for a day, which was not a fun day. I’m not trying to excuse the companies, but it’s important to point to something underneath that’s more complex, which is that part of this is our ignorance in the face of these unbelievably massive technologies that are uniting numbers of people of a magnitude that’s never been encountered before. Maybe there will be a market opportunity for someone if someone can figure out how to address the issue, but it’s not straightforward.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.