I think often of this speech Philip Pullman gave regarding the rights and limits associated with free speech. I like what he says, and I like how he says it.
I’d like to see a similar one for de-platforming. No one has a right to be popular on social media. No one has a right to access and use a specific platform. No one has a right to stay on the platform if they don’t abide by the rules. If they get kicked off, they can complain on other platforms. They can complain to the owners of the platform. They can build a platform of their own and make their own rules and say what they want in a law abiding way.
But wait, isn’t that a violation of someone’s free speech? I don’t think it is. It gives too much power to existing platforms to treat them like utilities. They are not utilities. If they are utilities, then they should be heavily regulated. Better that they are not regulated, that they do not gain too much power, and that people that want to exercise their free speech build their own platforms.
Free speech should be defined within the context of a citizen and their government. People should be able to say what they want within the law. People should also be willing to accept the social consequences if they say something that offends others. That is what Pullman is saying in some ways. If his book shocks and offends you, you can take action that may harm him by reducing the number of books he might sell. That is the consequence he is willing to take in order to write the book he wanted to write. He understands that free speech has consequences. The one consequence he is not willing to accept is to be prevented from speaking. (I would add that the other consequence he is unwilling to accept is to be physically threatened, an all too common threat that hangs over discussions of free speech on the Internet.)
People who are deplatformed are not prevented from speaking either. They are being prevented from speaking the way they prefer, and that is a different matter. They want to speak their way without the consequence of being deplatformed.