Freedom of Speech vs. Social Media

BY: CLAIRE KIM

A conversation I had with my father the other day led to some interesting insight and thoughtful concluding questions: to what extent can we allow private social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook the power to hinder the right to the first amendment, our freedom of speech? Is there a fine line between abusing social media platforms or simply overly expressing one’s sentiments? Can social media really silence our voices if believed necessary?

These questions are a culmination of a yesterday debate with my father regarding the recent banning of Trump from social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, SnapChat, and, most notably, Twitter. And while my initial sentiments regarding President Trump’s ban were mainly of feverish support and joy, I came to ponder the situation a little more deeply from a different perspective. I came to consider the implications this ban might have on our society in the future: the prospect of a society in which our so-called “freedom of speech” can be uplifted if deemed valid by a few members under a private company.

This step back from supporting the recent decision made by countless social media companies isn’t rooted in a quick change of thought but rather a contemplation and discussion I shared with my father. Essentially, I want to make it clear that my hesitations regarding the decisions made by Twitter and other social media sites aren’t indicative of my support or defense for President Trump and his actions in any way shape or form. In fact, I am incredibly disappointed and upset with the recent current events surrounding President Trump and his supporters, specifically in regards to the insurrection at the United States Capitol just a few weeks ago. It’s humiliating to see such a happening occur, and I don’t condone any of President Trump’s behavior since and before this incident.

My reason for bringing up this perspective is because I want to understand and discuss with others what a full-swept ban from social media platforms might mean for the future. I humbly wonder if our freedom of speech is endanger or if I’m being a little too worried by a man that does, to a great extent, deserve to be muted at this very moment in time.

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