Social Media and Free Speech
By Thenmoli Rajantran
School of Communication & Design, SCKL
People believe they have more freedom of expression and/or speech when using online networks than they do in the real world, where social etiquette and manners can sometimes feel restricting and constraining. Of course, content is monitored and can be removed, but with millions of users on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as well as YouTube, not every status, photo, or comment can be watched, judged, and entirely regulated. This has probably resulted in an increase of expressions, thoughts, and ideas from people who would otherwise find it difficult to portray themselves in person and face-to-face with others.
In essence, social media has altered our ability to communicate and behave, not only in groups and society, but also within ourselves. People who find it difficult to interact with others in person will benefit from the Internet, which allows them to communicate without feeling self-conscious or apprehensive. Everyone has the freedom to express their thoughts and feelings, and this is a fantastic approach for those who are less confident to do so. In a way, it creates a level playing field.
When people are happy and comfortable, they can express themselves more eloquently and potentially reach a larger audience than they might otherwise have been able to. Social networking can help people to be themselves yourself and instil confidence in those who require it. This is because people may not feel subjected to personal and intimate criticism or nervousness as a result of not having to encounter anyone who may be critical of them. Criticism in person can be difficult, making people panic and feel defensive. Written remarks can spark constructive debate because there is time to collect oneself. Everyone deserves to believe in themselves and their convictions, and networking can assist to inspire and educate individuals in this regard.
Social media is a wonderful thing. It has the potential to build or break a person. It has the power to make or break a company. The truth is that the moral issues surrounding freedom and expression that exist in the actual world can now be applied to the virtual world as well. Whether we like it or not, and whether or not we agree with it, it is liberal enough to allow people to express themselves and discover themselves. It’s also liberal enough to serve as a platform for unsuitable beliefs.