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Facebook limits political free speech, but for the right reasons

Pixabay
Pixabay

Misinformation has been a part of American discourse for quite some time. The invention of new technology and the widespread use of social media has led to a complete upheaval in the way we communicate with one another.

Communication has become bitter and vexatious, and social media has now become a forum for political weaponization.

This forum is being used to spread propaganda to advance the purposes of political parties across the world. Posting your ideological and political thoughts is not wrong unless your thoughts and ideas have misleading evidence and facts.

Major social media platforms like Facebook have found themselves in midst of these controversies.

Facebook said that, “It had taken down ads from the Trump campaign that claimed without evidence that accepting refugees from abroad would increase risks related to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Trump’s statement about refugees in its literal sense is bizarre because it practically implies two things. Firstly, it means that the refugees are just coming to the United States without any adequate security and health measures in place, which becomes a national or domestic security issue.

Secondly, it implies that refugees coming from different countries might bring some different forms of the virus, which might be more lethal than what we have currently in America. Both of these implications can be true or false, but they need to be supported with facts.

“We rejected these ads because we don’t allow claims that people’s physical safety, health, or survival is threatened by people based on their national origin or immigration status,” Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, told NBC News in a statement. This decision from Facebook has led to complicated questions.

This situation raises concerns on whether Facebook overstepped its authority by limiting free speech, depending on how people choose to interpret it.

It can be argued that Facebook did its duty of what a regulator should do by removing those ads by the Trump campaign. The Trump campaign and its supporters might feel differently about it because their candidate’s campaign was targeted.

Perhaps, the issue of free speech is a legitimate one, because it then raises another question. How free is free speech on any platform?

This might depend on the code of conduct of a platform you are using. If Facebook does not allow content that is devoid of facts and evidence, then it reserves the right to take it down.

Free speech is free until you showing respect toward the established platform. Then the owner of that platform has the right to take down that content if they feel otherwise.

Other platforms need to maintain strict regulations that must be made known to the public. This will help to maintain a sense of decorum on these forums, which will not be placed to find misinformation and spread it.

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    Ram PeddintiOct 9, 2020 at 4:07 am

    Nicely written Adhoksh. Seems like a well researched article. Keep them coming.

    Reply