Censorship in the media perpetuated by cancel culture is a greater and more imminent threat to society than Tate’s content will ever be as his banning is an example of corporate censorship. Freedom of speech is a beloved and highly debated pillar of U.S. law and democracy. 

Ergo, it is up to the discretion of the judicial system to decide, through due process, how to regulate individuals if their speech violates the law. This power does not belong in the hands of large multi-billion dollar companies, such as Meta and Twitter, no matter what their terms and conditions say.

Tate is not the first or last public figure to be banned and effectively silenced by Meta and Twitter. Arguably, the most notable recent banning is Former U.S. President Donald Trump from Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter. 

Trump abused his authority and accounts by using them to intentionally mislead the public and state that the 2020 presidential election had been rigged. He also encouraged his supporters to rally, arguably sparking the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. After inciting an attempted coup on the government, Trump received a two-year suspension from Meta, whereas Tate was banned for life. 

In addition to claiming censorship powers that the two companies have no elected right to exercise, their punishments are not proportional to those of the U.S. constitution. The First Amendment protects Tates speech, yet Trump’s Tweets are unprotected because he instigated “imminent lawless action,” according to the Supreme Court’s 1969 ruling of Brandenburg v. Ohio. 

When large independent companies ban users for charges that would not hold up in a courtroom, they send a dangerous message to the public. In line with history, the practice of consistently eliminating leaders who are accused of having too much influence is rarely part of a free society. 

Fifty four percent of Americans are “concerned” that they would be banned from social media or fired from their workplace if they expressed their opinion on social media, according to a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll

Making an example of Tate, a public figure known for being unafraid to speak his mind, pressures other users of Twitter and Meta to censor themselves out of fear of being canceled. Despite Tate’s brash and confrontational online presence, Meta and Twitter were not justified in banning him from their social platforms as that right belongs solely to the U.S. government. 

The most valuable thing one possesses is their voice. That being said, we must protect our defining perspectives and values by staying aware of subliminal messages from the media we consume, whether it is a favorite influencer or news source. We also have a responsibility to society to not contribute to the suppression of another’s voice to amplify our own. 

There is a fine line between protecting the online community and homogenizing it. When Twitter and Meta decided to ban Tate, they crossed that line and violated his freedom of speech.