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Social Media's Control on Censorship

Should social media be responsible for censorship?

Social media has always been known as a place where freedom of speech is the be and end-all. Since the internet was created, especially, the internet has essentially been governed by the people using it, with little interference from the government or larger political bodies. And if you didn’t like something, you simply looked away.

But with more and more people using it,

and perhaps even misusing it,

who should be the one to monitor it?

With the exclusion of actual illegal activity (meeting minors, posting videos harming people, etc) should the internet be under any strict rules? And since it’s “worldwide”, who would end up enforcing those rules?

When Donald Trump was banned from Twitter in January 2021, it was because Twitter was facing pressure from other members of Twitter, especially after the Capitol riots. But should the social media site be the ones taking responsibility for tweets?

It’s a touchy area– do we allow people to say things that could be linked to an increase in violence, or do we hope that the masses are smart enough to critically think about what others say?

In a conversation in real life, we wouldn’t simply take things at face value. We wouldn’t immediately agree with someone during the conversation, so we shouldn’t be doing it online either. This is the importance of fact-checking, not believing everything we see, and not allowing harmful information to influence our decisions.

Politics may be the area we see online censorship the most and could be the area where it does the most harm. Seeing all sides of the story is always important, but even more so when we are trying to decide who is doing a good job running things.

We need to have all of our facts, removed from political bias and personal opinions. We need to be able to form our own opinions, but we can’t do that if we’re only getting partial information.

There is quite a split with people on whether social media companies should be the ones doing the fact-checking, like in the case of Trump and Twitter. People are skeptical of how the sites know if the information is misleading. If there is no answer to back that up, it becomes a story of “he said/she said”.

The better course of action could be what Facebook is doing now: labeling its posts with a reminder to read the entire article before your share. Being aware of the entire information is crucial to forming a proper opinion.