Should Government Regulate Facebook? Social Media & Free Speech
In recent years, social media have become the focus of debates about free speech, and the issue is rapidly coming to a head.
The internet promised to bring people closer together and to empower individuals by bypassing publishers and broadcasters who had acted as gatekeepers between speakers and mass audiences. It has enabled new voices to be heard and sparked the formation of new communities and new movements.
But some of these communities are rife with hatred and bullying, and there are worries that social media is coarsening our political discourse.
Many people attribute these ills to too-permissive policies of the social media companies, but others argue that current policies are too restrictive. Many from both camps think that these companies have too much power over how we speak and interact, and that more government oversight is needed.
Where does this leave the idea of free speech? What sorts of speech should be permitted and prohibited online? And who should decide?