Walkfly left a comment on the Introduction page. Its an argument I frequently hear so I thought it would be worthwhile to post the comment in its entirety and my response. The original comment is in normal font prefaced by WF: and my reply is in italics prefaced by RDB:.
WF: I just want you all to know... you don't have guaranteed freedom of speech on any website. If you look in the Constitution, it clearly states that CONGRESS shall pass no law barring the freedom of speech.
RDB: I don't think I've every stated that Huffpo is violating my first amendment rights. Of course they have a right to moderate. I've never denied that. On the contrary if you look at various posts such as the discussion on Crooks and Liars you will see that I absolutely acknowledge and support their right to moderate. I don't want to see spam or personal attacks or comments that are totally irrelevant. My criticism is not THAT they censor. Its THE WAY they censor. That they censor comments that show errors by their bloggers. Or that take political views too outside the main stream. Or that are arbitrarily censored because their AI moderation system erroneously censors them even though they are perfectly in line with the moderation policies.
WF: That doesn't mean a communication firm/website won't. Huffington Post has every right to censor their own boards if they want to create a clean and respectable environment for their posts. I suggest your read their Terms of Services Agreement before complaining.
RDB: I have read their Services Agreement and that is why I have this blog. They routinely censor posts that are clearly acceptable by their published standards.
WF: Besides... are expletives really necessary for discussion and comment?
RDB: I completely agree. I almost never use expletives and if the only posts that were censored were ones with expletives I would have no problem.
WF: I'm not saying it's a good thing, but it's pointless to be upset about it -- they're a media outlet and they have their own agenda. If you want to speak out, speak out (on your own site), which is clearly what this whole thing's about.
RDB: I am speaking out on my own site. The reason this is important to me is that I've been a Huffpo user since the beginning and it bothers me that what was once a great site is being corrupted by the corporate mind set.
WF: This is why the net neutrality debate is so scary: If we allow an oligarchy of corporations to control the wireless web (which is the total future of the web), then we will essentially be allowing them not only ban certain content, but paint the picture of truth as the mobile majority sees it. This is Orwellian. Outrageous.
RDB: I agree losing Net Neutrality is scary. I think what is happening on Huffpo is an example of what will happen on the entire Internet times 1000 without Net Neutrality. So we are making an attempt to fight it now, to fight the corporatization of the Internet, while we still have a chance. You seem to agree with that sentiment so why don't you join us?