The Effects of Free Speech and Social Media

Using social media for expressing our support to particular ideas, promote our ways of thinking, sharing our thoughts about different issues has been transformed in our time in an action that required a previous analysis about the type of consequences we will confront in our personal and professional path. There has been many examples in different countries around the world about the negative effects on image from people who used different platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, among others to express their personal vision about policy-making, culture, effects of History in the participation of groups with different origins in social and political interactions. It is impossible to write about all of them here. However, the effects of these cases still make us think once and again about the risks and benefits of sharing all our beliefs and opinions in social media or similar platforms.

Pros and Cons of Social Media

In the last days, Donald Trump was in the middle of different articles after expressed negative opinions about Mexican migrants. Even though, he experienced a positive support from Republican voters after exposed his comments about these issues. Meanwhile in Australia, the effects of freedom of speech had not been so positive for reporters, Scott McIntyre decided to express her opinion about Anzac Day, which was not supported by Minister Malcolm Tumbull, broadcasting company’ s manager and the audience from SBS, when he expressed criticism against the “cultification [sic] of an imperialist invasion”. Afterwards, he expressed an ironic comment related to the execution and the rape did by “the brave Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan”. The outcome from this participation in social media provoked that SBS fired him because they determined that his expressions were against the broadcaster’s code of conduct and social media policy. Later, he decided to sue the company.

It would not possible to ignore there are different situations and professionals involved in similar cases, for example, Nir Rosen, a Law Fellow at New York University until he tweeted an insensitive message about Lara Logan’s sexual assault; Scott Bartosiewicz, shared a mean joke about Detroit and people’s ability to drive. What was his mistake? He did from his corporate account. Chrysler fired him and never renew its contract with New Media Strategies, the company he works for. Gabriella Pasqualotto was a cheerleader for cricket teams in the Indian Premier League until she decided to tweet about the bad manners of some cricketers against the cheerleaders. Afterwards, she was not able to support the team again. Throughout the analyze of this type of behavior, we are aware that sometimes we possess enough freedom to think some things but not necessarily it means our audience, our bosses or even our colleagues would find them respectful or sensitive towards social issues and how they would affect different people who, even when support freedom of speech, had expressed her lack of interest in undermining or criticizing conditions about human behavior. Especially, when it is about cultural heritage, women or racial issues or insulting someone or something without a previous contemplation of the effects in audience.

Sometimes, the broadcasting companies are specific about the type of behavior and expressions permitted in their staff’s accounts but we could not deny that we are not necessarily supporting all the measures and positions from our workplace, however, it does not mean that we should not respect our contracts and the limits they establish for our participation in social media. There would be possible to identify the presence of excessive emotion towards professionals topics, or users tend to focus about their feelings before they decide to share with their audience so when someone decide to write could forget about what others would feel about their expressions. Furthermore, it is common that we made mistakes when using social media. I have seen many cases of people writing to the wrong person before sending a message or e-mail, which is probably the worst type of error because you never had the intention to damage someone or something with your ideas.

I have never wrote too many tweets. Although, I have seen many obnoxious comments in different platforms. Perhaps, thinking about how others would think or how our relations with people who follow our accounts would be affected by the lack of awareness from other’s perception on different topics would be the best measure to avoid expressing things, which probably damaged others and ourselves when we do not think about how they would perceive our beliefs.

Protecting free speech in social media

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Journalist. Student of Global Media Communication. Interested in Politics, Economy, Social Media, Technology. Feminist. Like walking, talking and swimming.

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