Free Speech and Social Media

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by Sophia Mayberry

edited by Derya Kaya

When I saw that the topic for this week’s blog was free speech, I thought perfect! Free speech has been something we have been talking about in my social media class.

A new issue that has come up with the rise in the use of social media is the issue of  freedom of speech online. People often say things online they would never say in person.
There are several examples of this . Many people have lost friendships over what has been posted on social media. I personally have unfriended someone for a particularly ignorant Facebook post.
Then there is cyberbullying, or groups of people ganging up on one person and verbally abusing them online. This has, in the past, resulted in suicides.
These two examples among others have sparked a discussion about limiting free speech on the internet. There have even been several pieces of legislation drawn up to make the limitation law.
Like any other challenge to something written into the US constitution has been and will continue to be met with a lot of criticism because it is limiting a freedom promised in the constitution.
Other countries have different laws about freedom of speech and internet usage. I would love to know other people’s perspective on this issue.
I personally recognize the consequences of limiting freedom of speech but I also see a great need for some limitations.

5 Comments on “Free Speech and Social Media”

  1. It’s truly sad how far cruelty has developed with online speech. Freedom of speech can and should be a beautiful thing but it has become clouded with ignorance. Too many people are able to hide behind their computer screen and solicit a harsh use of free speech, but if we must remain true to the constitution I guess the Internet couldn’t have been foreseen then. Limitations definitely has its pros and cons. You make a valid point Sophia!

  2. Sophia,
    I liked your excitement about this topic! I always get excited when my class assignments begin to align too. I think your post this week is very relevant to current events. While the rise of cyberbullying has been a growing issue as social media has become more popular, the concerns regarding freedom of speech go far beyond bullying. A perfect example from current events is Turkey’s ban of Twitter. I think there should always be an atmosphere of respect online but I think putting limitations on what people can and cannot say can be very dangerous. Who is to decide whose voice is heard and whose voice is silenced?

  3. Shirin: I couldn’t have said that better myself! I believe and practice the rule that if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t post it.

    Emily: There are countless examples of freedom of speech issues raising concerns today (another example being the ban on revenge porn bill AZ legislature will vote on soon). Derya was telling me about the Twitter ban via email when she was editing this. She says everyone still use twitter they just find ways to get around the ban.

    Thanks ladies!

  4. Sophia,

    Free speech online is such a grey area, and for me, it is especially grey with cyberbullying. Because cyberbullying typically involves minors, it is such a tough situation. But I think, at least in some cases, the illegality of cyberbullying is a result of intimidation/ harassment/ threats and not necessarily a misuse of free speech (although that’s not always the case). As for just general ignorance online, I suppose that’s the price we have to pay to get a free, international platform for everyone to be heard. Let’s just be glad that we chose who we can listen to/ follow, and that the unfriend button is readily available for when we need to cut out some annoying people!

  5. Samantha,
    I agree with most of what you say. Because the internet allows to to say things without being face to face people think they can just anything, which is just not the right mindset.

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