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What Should Be the Limits to Freedom of Speech on Social Media?

From limiting biased beliefs and violence to slurs hurting both people and ad revenue, here are six answers to the question, "Twitter's recent controversies have led to many asking what are the limits to freedom of speech and censorship for social media platforms. According to you, where should social media platforms draw the line limiting freedom of speech?"

  • Limits on Biased Beliefs, Misguidance, and Violence

  • No Place for Hate or False Information

  • Draw the Line at Defamation and Harassment

  • Moderate by Reducing the Visibility of Controversial Topics

  • Cautiously Enforce Rules in the Private Sector

  • Slurs/Epithets Hurt People and Partnerships

Limits on Biased Beliefs, Misguidance, and Violence

Not all things free are actually free. They put the constitutional right to free speech in place to restrict anyone from creating laws against other rights to freedom of religion, press, peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Freedom of speech is not an opportunity to put yourself and your biased beliefs on others, to steer or misguide people with misinformation, and last, freedom of speech is not an opportunity for anyone to force their opinions, beliefs, or way of life on others by way of violence, harm to others both verbally and/or physically.

I believe personally that the way people behave behind a screen tells a lot about them and their character. The employer will determine whether they want such a person representing their organization, interacting with their clients, and building their professional lives; you are hiring the person, not their resume.

Amanda Russo, Founder & CEO, Cornerstone Paradigm Consulting, LLC

No Place for Hate or False Information

The issue of freedom of speech on social media is contentious, with many people arguing that platforms should allow users to say whatever they want, while others believe that there should be limits on what we can say. One key factor to consider when determining where to draw the line is the potential harm that can be caused by certain types of speech. For example, hate speech and threats of violence should not be tolerated on social media platforms. This type of speech can have real-world consequences and can lead to harm to individuals and groups. Another factor to consider is the potential for speech to spread misinformation or false information. In the age of fake news, it is more important than ever for social media platforms to crack down on the spread of false information. Allowing the spread of misinformation can have serious consequences, such as undermining public trust in institutions and causing harm to individuals and groups.

Shana Digital, CEO, Bold Creative Brand

Draw the Line at Defamation and Harassment

While I think it's important to have freedom of speech on social media platforms, I don't think that it should be unlimited. The internet is a public space, and people expect to express themselves freely in this space. But there are certain things that are just unacceptable—like harassment or defamation—and I don't think those should ever be allowed on social media platforms. I understand that this may be difficult for some platforms to enforce, but I believe it's important for them to set clear standards about what types of speech are acceptable and what are not.

Tiffany Homan, COO, Texas Divorce Laws

Moderate by Reducing the Visibility of Controversial Topics

I believe social media platforms should allow free speech and be as open as possible. They should only reduce hate speech and discrimination by not allowing them to reach larger audiences.

The line should be drawn based on the context of the speech and who it is targeted toward. For example, in the U.S., pro-white users can speak their minds because they will only reach a limited audience because people will not tolerate their hateful speech.

Luciano Colos, Founder & CEO, PitchGrade

Cautiously Enforce Rules in the Private Sector

The First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment protect citizens from governmental efforts to restrict speech. Private sector entities, like Twitter, have a Constitutional right to manage the content posted by users on their social media platform. From a legal perspective, we should not force social media platforms to provide private citizens with access to their platforms. That being said, from a personal perspective, the rules are not as important as the application of those rules. They should be clear and objective, and enforcement requires a balance. The rules should be cautiously enforced, but no one should have the unfettered ability to reach an audience.

Derek Colvin, Attorney, Waldrop & Colvin

Slurs/Epithets Hurt People and Partnerships

Freedom of speech often gets thrown around by people who have little understanding of what it means. First, freedom of speech only refers to the fact that the U.S. government is not allowed to persecute or imprison you for criticizing it. It doesn't refer to the social media policies of private companies, such as Twitter. After Elon Musk bought Twitter, racial slurs jumped up by 3x the average for 2022, and slurs against the LGBTQ community jumped up by over 50%, according to CBC. Because of this and other various missteps by Musk, brands and advertisers have become hesitant to work with the platform.

Not only does hate speech hurt marginalized groups, but it also destroys ad revenue. The use of slurs and epithets should not be tolerated on any major social media platform.

Gary Paull Jr., CEO, Gauss

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