Connections: Social media, free speech, and the freedom to post

Jul 5, 2017

If you’re like most social media users, you want the freedom to post whatever you’d like and the opportunity to access materials that interest you. Yet, when the technology you use to enjoy those freedoms becomes a way to restrict them, it raises a number of issues. This is the theme behind a number of recent news stories involving social media.

Germany just passed one of the world’s toughest laws cracking down on hate speech on social media. Critics say that the law may lead to censorship because it puts too much pressure on social networks to ban questionable content. In the U.S., the Supreme Court recently overturned a North Carolina law that barred registered sex offenders from using some social media sites, saying it limited their free speech. And at Harvard, a number of students’ acceptances were rescinded after college officials found them posting offensive content on Facebook.

So how can we balance the freedom to post with protecting people from hate speech or offensive content? Our guests weigh in on these stories and more. In studio:

  • Scott Malouf, attorney whose practice is focused on the intersection of social media and the law 
  • Mike Johansson, senior lecturer of communications at RIT, and social media consultant at Fixitology