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Free Speech: Freedom of Speech on Social Media

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 “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or an abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (Legal Information Institute 1992); while this amendment protects your right to speak it does not protect what you say. Most people turn to social media to speak their minds however there are sites on the internet that are privately owned so you can’t speak freely as they may remove the content as it violates their terms of service.

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 Some companies realize it is in their best interest to allow you to speak freely because they realize they can create a community and attract users and make money by valuing your freedom of speech but this also comes with the bad. Censorship is what overlaps free speech; censorship is speech that is prevented or covered up by the government etc. An example of free speech would be, say you order a product offline and you receive is faulty or not how it was described before purchase and you want to leave a review on their page warning others, that company may take your post down even though you have a right to post what is on your mind they also have the right to take it down and this does not affect your rights to freedom of speech on social media. There are important things you need to remember when you speak on the internet, yes Facebook Twitter, etc. can be seen as the new public square however they are not, for example, Twitter which is probably the most free speech platform, censored an account for the first time in 2012 which was run by neo Nazis at the request of the government ( Adam Clark 2012) “ Everything must be free to be written and published without constraint” (Mill 1958). Mill states everyone should be free to write what they want without any difficulties; some people may agree with this because everyone has a right to their opinion however there are some limits which include defamation of character or slander, people who are using social media platforms to write freely also need to consider what their writing is to be true otherwise they could be sued for slander, you cannot just drag anyone’s reputation down on the internet and lie as it will fall back on you as a defamation of character. An example of free speech would be, say you order a product offline and you receive is faulty or not how it was described before purchase and you want to leave a review on their page warning others, that company may take your post down even though you have a right to post what is on your mind they also have the right to take it down and this does not affect your rights to freedom of speech on social media does not stop others from speaking against you, this is important because sometimes people use the internet as a defense mechanism to deflect criticism before it was seen this was it was used for self-policing and self-criticism. Mill (1958) believes that if an opinion is compelled to silence then it has to be true, as in why is the opinion being silenced if there is no truth to it?

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in a democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country” (Edward Barney 1928). Propaganda influences public opinion through facts, arguments, rumors, half-truths, or lies. It is used to manipulate people’s beliefs or attitudes. It can be used on the likes banners, posters, music, clothing, etc. Propagandists have a set of goals to achieve their set of goals they may select facts, arguments, and displays and present them in ways that will have the most impact. The Propaganda word comes from the work of Congregatio de Propaganda Fide which was founded by the Roman Catholic cardinals in 1622. Propaganda was used in wartime to confuse an enemy by putting them off guard. It is also used in advertising in which companies are biased in advertising to seek the public eye. Propaganda can also be seen as a type of brainwashing, which makes people only see what their government only wants them to see, a type of brainwashing which is happening in North Korea according to The Guardian (2014) ‘ You are brainwashed from the time you know how to talk’ even though we know stuff like this is happening in this country no efforts are being done to stop it. There are two theories to propaganda the first theory is from George Orwell who stated that it is deliberate lies and they are using assumptions for facts rather than real facts. The second theory is from Chomsky and Herman which is based on the media. Propaganda is shaping the story purposely; Ideology is how the culture gives our perspective on our views.

Finally, media presenters don’t select just any story there is a process behind it where they find the best-suited story, they take into account the location and the voices, etc. The disadvantage of selectivity is that they only show us what they want us to see which can leave out certain voices or important information. 

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