Staff Editorial: Media Complicates Freedom of Speech Rights

Staff Editorial: Media Complicates Freedom of Speech Rights

Noor Naseer, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump’s tweets have made headlines for their brazen and controversial claims. That all came to a halt on Jan. 8 when Twitter permanently suspended his account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” Immediately, the question surrounding freedom of speech was raised. However, since Twitter is a private company with their own terms and conditions, the suspension is not a violation of Trump’s first amendment rights. 

No president has used social media, specifically Twitter, to the same extent as Trump. The 280 character limit allowed him to make brash statements without providing evidence to support his claims. Additionally, due to the presence of algorithms used on social media platforms, political polarization has increased because users are more likely to see content that aligns with their points of view, inadvertently locking themselves in an echo chamber. Through this, Trump has amassed a loyal following, that formerly consisted of well over 80 million followers on Twitter alone. Regardless of one’s political views, it is evident that Trump’s tweets in and of themselves were a spectacle throughout his time in office. 

Additionally, some say that Twitter should have shut down Trump’s account much earlier, and they are partly to blame for the insurrection at the Capitol. Considering our publication, it is of utmost importance to fulfill our mission to do no harm. It is crucial that we recognize that everything published reflects our leadership. Our responsibility as a news source is to shut down any content that could harm the student body, faculty, staff, or Blake as an institution.

We encourage readers to both use social media as a jumping-off point and actively search for perspectives that differ from their own. Before reposting something to your Instagram story, Google it, and make sure that it isn’t spreading misinformation. Read up on both sides of a polarized issue before taking a stance on it. Move past the 280 characters. 

Finally, keep in mind the power of words. Many have drawn a connection between the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and Trump’s rhetoric. We hope that seeing the detrimental effects that words can have, pushes you to be more conscious of what you post, like, comment, and share– both on-screen and off.