Does the right of free speech extend to social media?

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In modern society the rise of social media has led to many questions. The biggest of these questions is whether or not the First Amendment protects anything posted on these social media sites.Many believe that these sites should be covered under the notion of free speech because social media acts as an outlet to express oneself. Others argue that since social media is manifested in written word, it is not protected by the amendment, so the sites they are posted on have a right to censor the material. A great example of censorship on social media has manifested itself recently with Tinder. In a recent post on Social Times, the question of free speech and social media was again raised by the statement, “Free speech and social networks don’t always work together. User agreements often give social networks the right to pull any content they deem objectionable, and this seems to be the case with the campaign on Tinder.” As the argument of whether free speech protects online posts continues many draw support from several incidents that have been on the rise in recent years.

The most prominent example used to advocate against social media being considered free speech is the rising incidents of cyberbullying. Many argue that offensive or hurtful comments posted online should not be protected because they are forms of intimidation or cyber bullying. Cyberbullying is a recent trend that has impacted many.  It has actually resulted in many suicides due to the wide scope of people who can view what is posted about a person. At the end of the 2014 calendar year, the United States Supreme Court began debating a case about a citizen, Anthony Elonis, who was jailed for posting death threats towards his ex-wife on Facebook. The court decided in June 2015, that the previous conviction was to be revoked. This controversial decision has only continued to stir support for limiting what is protected by free speech.


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