Of course there should be limits on what people can say online

If a private company decides to allow, or not, certain speech to take place on company property that’s up to the company. Private property does actually have a meaning, that being that it is private if you can determine its use. If the government decides what may be said that is censorship.

It’s entirely possible for there to be good censorship too. Not allowing immediate incitement to violence seems to us to be a pretty good rule and it’s one that has long been law.

However, we do rather insist that whatever rules - incitement, libel etc - must be general. The moment we start being specific about which speech is not allowed then we’re on that slippery slope. Yes, we know, slippery is a logical fallacy unless it’s inevitable that the next step follows. Which is what we assert, the next step is:

More than half a million British children are unvaccinated against measles, new figures show, as the head of NHS England challenged social media giants to block “grossly irresponsible” anti-vax propaganda.

Sites such as Instagram and YouTube should adopt “zero tolerance” regimes, Simon Stevens said as Unicef data revealed the UK to be among the worst high-income countries for uptake of the jab.

There is the argument that if people wish to be so gargantuanly stupid as to not vaccinate their kids against a killer disease well, good luck to them, that’s freedom. Equally we can argue that there’s a public problem here, the herd immunity, and anyway children shouldn’t suffer because of the mental deficiencies of their parents.

But either way that’s an argument for making vaccines compulsory or not so. It’s not an argument to restrict what people may say on either side. Because the moment the power to determine the specifics of speech - rather than those broad and general rules - becomes available it will be further used.

By analogy, Facebook has banned any white supremacists etc. As above their gaff, their rules. But note that they’ve banned people arguing for discrimination, even rejection and or violence, on the grounds of race. They’ve not banned those arguing much the same on the grounds of class. You know, the elimination of the bourgeoisie stuff. And we’re really very certain that being discriminated against because of social origin is no better - nor worse - than upon any other birth attribute.

To be more specific here “You can’t argue against medical treatment we approve of” is the claim that is being made. And when it’s put like that then it’s obviously not a speech restriction we can support, is it? Medical treatments generally approved of have included, over the centuries, clitorectomies, lobotomies, sterilisations, and that’s before we get to currently controversial subjects like child gender assignations, abortion and so on.

Sure, we support measles vaccinations, but curtailing speech about them isn’t the right thing to be doing. Simply because once that power is taken it will be further used.