A white supremacist website was effectively shut down after one CEO’s order to pull service. Is free speech under threat when a site can be banned from the internet based on ideology?
Michael C. Moynihan, correspondent for “Vice News Tonight” on HBO, joined Wednesday’s “The Glenn Beck Radio Program” to talk about his interview with Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, who essentially banned the Daily Stormer from the internet by denying service to the Nazi site. Is there any way to make sure private companies stay neutral on free speech without bringing in more government regulation?
“We’ve come into a country that is now so fearful that I think that reason has shut down,” Glenn Beck said.
Cloudflare offers a service that protects websites from denial-of-service attacks, which happen when a site is targeted and overloaded with bad requests. Without being shielded by Cloudflare, sites can be kept offline. A helpful analogy is that Cloudflare is like having security that protects you while you speak in public.
Moynihan talked about the difficult balance between not bringing in more regulation and ensuring that a range of opinion is available on the internet.
“We lurch into this area when companies like Cloudflare, Twitter and Facebook accrue so much power and influence that people say, ‘Hey, you know we really should regulate them like public utilities,’” he said.
Instead, people need to realize that more speech is the answer, not censoring repugnant speech.
“The Nazis should be shut down. I want them shut down, and I want them shut down in debate,” Moynihan said. “I don’t want them shut down by companies or by the government.”