Free Speech pertains to government censorship, not privately-owned publications and forums. A newspaper has the right to accept or refuse an article from one of their contributors based on a number of criteria. A website has the right to moderate comments, or not. Some do, and some don’t. It is within their legal rights to decide how best, or if at all, to go about this; after all, as I must remind people regarding my own website, they do pay for the hosting. They are not obligated, legally or morally, to host your opinion on their bandwidth. There is also a commonly accepted fallacy that website with moderation policies do so to deflect dissent—this is almost universally untrue. But if you’ve grown up in a system that rewards toxicity, it’s easy to see your own abusive language as really just reasonable dissent.

Nearly every website you visit—this includes YouTube—is privately owned, and if it has enough traffic, it probably has a clearly-outlined terms of use policy by which all commenters are expected to abide. This does not guarantee anyone who uses this service the right to say anything. Free Speech is protection against government overreach, it is not a license for you to say whatever hateful thing you want on a privately owned website with a clearly-outlined comment policy.

-Lindsay Ellis on comments.