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“The ever-greater interconnectedness of people around the world- the very spirit of globalization, can be seen in the growth of international migration, tourism, education, and in increased traffic on telephone exchanges, satellite television and radio, and of course the internet”. (Bhargava, 2006). In the recent years, social media has grown into a mainstay in society across the world, in which people around the world have flooded to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to connect with one another with ease. With the accessibility that these sites provide their users, social media has become the center point of interactions amongst groups of people and organizations to freely express their viewpoints with uncontrolled ease, which in some instances has allowed the spread of hate speech and terrorism. In the United States these viewpoints are guaranteed to a certain extent under the Constitution and laws that allows free speech through the first amendment. However, in other countries where free speech is not a right that is granted to everyone, regimes in various countries have used censorship to limit the ability of groups and their citizens to voice their opinions and views, especially when those views don’t align with those of the regime. Censorship is defined by The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) describes censorship as “the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are ‘offensive,’ happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others”. (“What is Censorship”, 2019).
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Although social media has demonstrated itself to be helpful by entertaining and informing its viewers, it also has its downfalls by allowing bad influences and fake news to cloud the judgment of its audience. Social media sites need to be censored and controlled through international law in order to control hateful, judgmental, one-sided views, and from creating negative conflicts amongst the viewers, while still allowing the ability of its users to freely express themselves. The question is who will oversee and set the limitations of this censorship on these sites
Social media sites control today’s information environment which is were more people around the world get their news and are able to form their opinions on events, and that number is growing as internet accessibility grows around the world. With this accessibility some governments have taken have taking advantage of social media’s power by pressuring them to further national security interests to helping fight forms of terrorism through censorship. Even with government censorship social media site owners have typically reserved the right to determine what content they will allow on their sites, and they do not consider their policies to constitute censorship because the users agree to these acts by accepting the user agreement when they sign up. It is critical to develop a policy regarding censorship of social media sites, while being able to provide its users specific guidelines on what is allowed and what is not posted. If there are laws and regulations in place which give specific notice about what can or cannot be posted then governments and site owners are being proactive and will not engage in censorship of violate free speech.
Not only has social media been censored by certain countries such as Syria, Turkey, and Iran to prevent the spreading information about current events happening locally, but the owners of these sites have put restrictions on various organizations from being able to post their content because their views are considered fake news or hateful by some. When censorship is implemented in any form, it is one’s freedom that is questioned. “So, when applied to the context of social media, it is the right to freedom of speech and expression that is under threat, though the extent of this threat is debatable”. (Govindarajan & Ravinar, 2016). Social media has given platforms for online users to not only freely communicate instantly across an international audience but also the ability to influence others towards their views. Accordingly, it is anticipated that the free flow of information through the social media sites would enhance the exercise of freedoms such as freedom of speech, access to information, communication, as well as the right to assembly. While it is apparent that positive impacts of social media sites outweigh negative impacts, certain governments uphold that the negative impacts should not be ignored due to the possibilities of threats towards the public, political situations, possible human rights violations.
Essay on Freedom of Speech and Social Media Censorship. (2022, Feb 09).
Retrieved March 24, 2023 , from
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