I want to pose this as quite an open question to explore and maybe find solutions.
When most freedom of speech laws, constitutional amendments or UN charters we’re written, there was a working assumption that the entities that we were defending our free speech against, were our governments, current and future. That is obviously still important, but by and large, we’ve got that covered in existing policy.
I think we understand that freedom of speech is more than just an individual right. It’s a foundational requirement of the democratic process. Not being able to say unpopular things breaks something fundamental about how we find our collective way forward.
In general, when we move into the private domain, we start from the position that you can censor your own home. If people come to your house and insist on saying things you don’t like, then you can tell them to fuck off, and for the most part, they are obliged to do so.
But it doesn’t stop there. Historically, we insisted on diversity of media ownership, because this brought diversity of opinion and prevented the imposition of a singular dominant narrative. Of course this has been weakened a lot over the past few decades, ostensibly on the premise that there has been a growing diversity of mediums to choose from, so maybe dominating one doesn’t count anymore(?). Incidentally, I don’t think we have media ownership policy.
But moving on, the medium (s) that we have regulated in the past were one-to-many or broadcast mediums ( radio, tv, newspaper etc.). We haven’t given much thought to the many-to-many mediums of the internet (think YouTube, Reddit, Farcebook, Twatter etc.)
Censorship in these spaces limit the grassroots communication of the whole community.
What should happen if private enterprises own monopolies over key communications mediums? What if our governments use them for censorship by proxy? What if the corporations just have their own political agenda while owning enough of the communications common gathering places?