In an interview with The Washington Post this week, Twitter head Jack Dorsey talked about the supposed issues facing Twitter. No, not the lack of an edit button, or the inconsistent policing of threatening content: how best to manipulate users’ access to information. He explained that he wanted to reduce “echo chambers” on the platform. Dorsey stated, “The most important thing that we can do is we look at the incentives that we’re building into our product. Because they do express a point of view of what we want people to do — and I don’t think they are correct anymore.”
This sort of “nudging” is a favored tactic among Leftist policy makers. Taking their lead from Cass Sunstein of Harvard Law School, these policy makers seek to utilize the tools of technology to gently prod certain behavior. Change the social environment ever so slightly, and you can manipulate human beings to choose different behavior. Clearly that’s what Dorsey thinks he’s doing by suspending Alex Jones from the platform — he says that he hopes to change Jones’ behavior. This sort of manipulation is often dubbed “libertarian paternalism” — it doesn’t force choice, it just inhibits certain kinds of choice.