Journalism via Social Media: Hate Speech, Disinformation, Russian Law?

By Emiree Campbell

Free speech and Social media are not getting along these days. Disinformation is more accessible than ever before. With social media being a big part of our daily lives, conspiracy theories and hoaxes are sure to come our way. Some may ask are officials protecting us from potential danger or abusing our right granted by the first amendment?

It is clear that Former President Donald Trump’s twitter rants are the very cause of the attack on the capital. This influencing both Facebook and Twitter entirely to block Trump from their platform. According to the WSJ Article titled ” Russia Restricts Twitter Speed Over Banned Content”, this action raised questions like, “who gets to decide what can and cannot be said on the internet?” One thing that I found most interesting from the article was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s , comment ” The more people being able to share their experiences and perspectives has always been necessary to build a more inclusive society, and while I certainly worry about the erosion of truth I don’t think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things tech companies judge to be a hundred percent true.” I think most can agree with this, disinformation is dangerous however limiting others freedom of speech is equally dangerous. Although Russia seems to have other ideas in mind.

According to the New York Times, Russia says it is slowing access to Twitter. Moscow accused Twitter of failing to remove content it deemed illegal. Shortly after this accusation, a number of government websites underwent a short outage. Russia’s regulator, Roskomnadzor, accused the American company of failing for years to remove posts about illegal drug use, child pornography and messages “pushing minors toward suicide.”

“With the aim of protecting Russian citizens and forcing the internet service to follow the law on the territory of the Russian Federation, centralized reactive measures have been taken against Twitter starting March 10, 2021 — specifically, the initial throttling of the service’s speeds, in accordance with the regulations,” the regulator said. “If the internet service Twitter continues to ignore the demands of the law, measures against it will continue in accordance with the regulations, up to and including blocking it,” he added.

Russia ultimately wants Twitter blocked. They saw the opportunity and ran with it. With Russia being under Putin’s authoritarian rule and Twitter serving as a freedom landmark. This poses a threat to their system. Although it is important to eliminate danger and protect your citizens at all cost, to block Twitter from your country entirely, raises speculation.

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