Allow me to toss a few controversial thoughts your way. Instead of curate, let me replace that with censorship. Yes, in an era where anything goes on the interwebs, and free speech is considered an inalienable right, many consider censorship to be a dirty word. Is it? Or, is it just a more descriptive word for curate, or manage, or a way to implement proper guidelines?
Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or “inconvenient” as determined by a government or private institution, for example, corporate censorship.
To be fair and balanced, censorship is everywhere so let’s call it what it is. Free speech does not mean you can yell Fire! in a crowded theater. Free speech has ramifications and consequences. Call your boss an idiot or moron, and you could lose your job, so most humans impose upon themselves the restraints provided by self censorship.
Apple manages a wide variety of products, and by manage, I mean much of it is curated. That explains Apple’s so-called Walled Garden; it’s Disneyesque approach to product integration and customer management. Yet, despite curating the App Stores, and kicking out content which is deemed– by Apple– as inappropriate, the iPhone maker is anything but Big Brother.
Just as curation is good, so, too is a measure of outright censorship. Alex Jones’ InfoWars was kicked of a number of content platforms recently. Why? Suppression of free speech? Censorship? Or, merely content curation?
Governments… may engage in censorship. Other groups or institutions may propose and petition for censorship; indeed, such private activity is protected by the First Amendment. When an individual such as an author or other creator engages in censorship of their own works or speech, it is referred to as self-censorship.
Why should Apple censor even more?
I go to Disneyworld because I want a clean and comfortable and safe place to be entertained; safe for adults and children. I watch specific content on specific network channels because I do not wish to be exposed to content that lives outside the parameters I choose for myself and my family. I have that right. I also have the right to spend my money on products and content that match my values.
Alex Jones may have a large following, but his views and methods are outside the mainstream for many Americans, definitely for Apple, and seemingly Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and perhaps others. All have provided a measure of censorship to Jones and other like-minded people and organizations, and those actions seem beneficial to most their respective users and customers.
Direct censorship may or may not be legal, depending on the type, location, and content. Many countries provide strong protections against censorship by law, but none of these protections are absolute and frequently a claim of necessity to balance conflicting rights is made, in order to determine what could and could not be censored. There are no laws against self-censorship.
Is not censorship the domain of autocratic rulers? Does censoring turn Apple into Big Brother?
Socrates’ student, Plato, is said to have advocated censorship in his essay on The Republic, which opposed the existence of democracy.
Should we not be free to say whatever we want? No. That’s why you cannot yell Fire! in a crowded theater unless there is a fire. That said, you can say what you want but there may be consequences for what you say.
In contrast to Plato, Greek playwright Euripides (480–406 BC) defended the true liberty of freeborn men, including the right to speak freely.
Which we have. But there are consequences, right?
21st century earth has more information and content than can be filtered and digested by the average human. We need filters. We need curators. We need censors. Apple can do more to clean up the content in the Walled Garden. So can Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and others.
By nature, content needs a filter and a filter means censorship.