Needless to say, people had some thoughts on her attempt to explain the difference between public and private entities. In just 24 hours, more than 11,000 people had commented on her initial tweet. What followed was a lesson in the basics of civic discourse.
People on social media responded with humor and facts about what it means to be “private” vs. “public.”
Okay so. Sometimes big popular words like “public and private” have different meanings depending on this thing called context. I know the MAGA hat removes context from your brain but take it off, rub your temples a little and give it a try.
So sometimes “public” means “available to the public” and sometimes it means “owned by the public.” For instance. “Public parks” are owned by the public, so we as a group decide what happens to them through our elected representatives.
By contrast, say, a mall is a “public place” bc it is “available to the public.” But the mall, and everything in it, is not “owned by the public,” so we the people—through our representatives and constrained by our constitution—do NOT have a say over what the mall does.
So we don’t get a say over what Facebook does until and unless we the people, through our government and constrained by the constitution, assert jurisdiction over particular actions Facebook takes by passing a law. We have not done so.
So despite being a “public” company, we the people, and certainly not you the individual MAGA head, have no say or jurisdiction over who it does or does not ban, which is what “public” might mean in another context.
Weaver later tried to clarify her original tweet but people weren’t buying it. In a bit of delicious irony, Simon Maloy put the discussion effectively to bed by declaring: “Ironically this has become a lesson in being publicly owned.”