Tech Censorship

The World War On Free Speech Intensifies

Elon MusAdd Newk can’t fight censorship on his own

Jun 19, 2023
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, US President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz before G7 leaders’ family photo during a NATO summit on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on March 24, 2022, in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Henry Nicholls – Pool/Getty Images)

The war on free speech is hardly a novel phenomenon, instead mutating over the centuries. What is new, however, is its global aspirations: today, the conflict takes the form of a world war.

You can see its shadow in every Western country, from the US and Canada to Ireland and Australia, as well as in every multinational organization, from the EU to the UN. Rising levels of hate speech and misinformation, we are told, make it more urgent than ever for governments, corporations, and multilateral organizations to adopt stronger measures to protect vulnerable populations online.

It is for this reason that Biden’s Department of Homeland Security recently created a “Disinformation Governance Board,” the European Commission crafted a new Digital Services Act and Code of Practice on Disinformation, and the UN is proposing a “Code of Conduct for Information Integrity on Digital Platforms.”

All of these initiatives are allegedly the product of good intentions; all of them, however, are rooted in the same fallacy: there is little evidence to suggest that hate speech and misinformation are on the rise. On the contrary, Western countries are more tolerant of racial, religious, and sexual minorities than ever before. To take one example, the percentage of Americans who approve of marriages between white and black Americans has risen from 4% in 1958 to 87% in 2013 to 94% in 2021.


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