In July, 2016, Germany faced a wave of terrorist attacks. These attacks had connections to various posts on Facebook. The German government stated that they believed it was Facebook’s responsibility to turn over any information on future or past attacks. Later the following year, on Oct. 31, an Uzbek immigrant drove a truck into the sidewalks of Manhattan, killing 8 people. When he was detained, the New York Police found over 90 ISIS propaganda videos to which he clearly admitted to taking inspiration from. The question is, should social media sites have to legally turn over their user’s information if it implies a future attack or if it could shed light on an investigation for a past attack. And if not, should these sites be held culpable for these attacks to some extent.
Some U.S. officials urge social media sites to work toward terrorism prevention. Joe Lieberman, a former Congress member, demanded that social media sites shouldn’t let terrorists have access to their sites at all, and believes that the internet is a primary force in the spread of terrorism. In 2012, Twitter announced a change to their censorship policy, stating that they are going to begin censoring tweets that break the law in your local area. They gave the following statement :
“… Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why.”
Many people responded negatively to this, arguing that this was a violation of free speech. Some even threatened to stop tweeting if they didn’t repeal this clause.
There are various good and bad things that can come of actions such as this one. Yes, it is possible that this would lessen terrorist attacks. Yes, it could lessen hate speech. Yes, it could make the world a better place. But at what cost. Some say that this is a slippery slope to walk on. Once the public believes its ok to silence an opinion, who’s to say the government doesn’t silence another groups beliefs, maybe even yours. Is it worth possibly giving up your own freedom? What do they say? A bird in the hand is worth two in a bush.
Essential Q: Is Twitter violating free speech by banning alt-right members?
Twitter, a worldwide social network, connecting, and sharing messages and words with people globally, is also controversial in the sense that as members are exercising their first amendment rights by tweeting whatever they want.
According to an article by the Washington Post, one cannot actually say whatever they want on twitter, thus showing that freedom of speech is not a viable excuse for tweeting out anything. Since the election of our new president, the level of discriminatory and hate speech has risen higher than it has been in a while. Many different alt-right and white supremacy groups are making their voices heard over many different platforms, especially twitter. Many believe what these groups are preaching is just them exercising their rights, but is is really? Twitter definitely doesn’t think so. They have banned numerous accounts associated with the alt-right movement, including the leader, Richard Spencer.
Spencer, doesn’t believe he did anything wrong. He believed that he is being treated unfairly and twitter is violating his rights. While his account has been banned Other like Trump are continually preaching similar rhetoric and not being banned. Not yet at least. As for twitter violating some users free speech, they may be going overboard in some cases,but in the case of banning members of the alt-right, they just might be doing right thing. This power that twitter has also may be bad for them in the long run,for people might feel that the have no rights on twitter, and no longer use it.
Pierson, David, and Paresh Dave. “Twitter’s Alt-right Banning Spree.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
Ohlheiser, Abby. “Banned from Twitter? This Site Promises You Can Say Whatever You Want.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 29 Nov. 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
Over the last 15 years, social media has become apart of our everyday lives; a place where everyone and anyone can post pictures, videos, opinions, and ideas. Social media is the place where you and I post things for others to see, and a way we communicate with people we don’t get to see everyday. We post our thoughts and opinions for the world to see, but is there such thing as going too far? Well apparently Twitter thinks so. Twitter, along with other massive social media websites has been banning and deleting people’s accounts because their opinions are seen as offensive to others. Owen S.Good claims, “You don’t have a right to do anything on Twitter. You have privileges there, granted by the people who created and operate the service. The assumption that Twitter should tolerate, enable or defer in its policies to those who claim their conduct is political or protected expression is absurd”. On the other hand, many people say that social media banning is contradicting our rights. The First Amendment states that we the people are granted freedom of expression, in other words, the right to express our ideas, thoughts, opinions, virtually anything we want!
I personally find it unbelievable that people are being blocked on social media for what they say. I understand if it is physically causing problems, and/or causing someone to get hurt, but just for someone expressing their opinions is absurd. However I don’t think they should be able to ban anyone. First off, you decide to follow that person. If they post something you don’t like, unfollow them. A solution is simply don’t read it, but if you choose to read something don’t get butthurt if it offends you. It’s their right to post their opinions and views. You also have the right to decide whether to read it or not. If it’s offensive, DON’T READ IT! Also, I believe if social media is going to ban someone for posting something offensive, they need to ban everyone who has done something similar. For example, Donald Trump needs to be banned because he has singled out multiple people on social media, and it is offensive. I personally don’t follow him and don’t care, but if they are going to treat everyone equally why does he get away with it?