Law in the Internet Society

How should people deal with social network services?

-- By RyotaSaito - 22 Oct 2021


In the class, the names of major IT companies such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook were frequently mentioned. Through the class and the recent news, I decided to discuss how people should deal with social network services such as Facebook and Twitter. Social network services have penetrated deeply into the lives of people all over the world, and have become an essential part of both individual lives and corporate business activities. Although social network services are recognized for their convenience, there are more and more cases of abuse of social network services, such as fake news and hate speech, which have become social problems. How are we going to deal with social network services now, and how should we deal with them?

Are we moving toward allowing censorship by social media? 〜Relationship with freedom of speech~

It goes without saying that freedom of speech is the foundation of democracy. Expression by individuals should be protected in principle, and democracy is developed when various ideas are scrutinized and weeded out in the free speech market. And if we value freedom of speech, we should not allow social media to unilaterally delete posts by social network services as much as possible. Whether or not the post in question is fake news, for example, should be judged by each individual who sees the post, and for social media to delete a post because it is judged to be fake news is to shut the post out of the free speech market and should not be allowed in principle. This is because, in principle, it should not be allowed. However, I believe that the current trend in the international community is toward allowing censorship by social media, while recognizing the importance of freedom of speech. The incident at the U.S. Capitol that was triggered by former President Trump's post on Twitter led to increased criticism of Twitter and Facebook for letting posts that fall under the categories of hate speech, fake news, and criminal acts go unchecked. Rather, the international community has come to believe that social media should take responsibility for censoring and regulating these posts (fake news and hate speech should not be left unchecked) in light of the social influence that Twitter and Facebook have. However, it is not easy to determine whether a post is fake or not, for example, and it goes without saying that allowing Twitter and Facebook to censor may lead to arbitrary censorship.

Personal view

It is very interesting that the United States, a representative of democracy, is discussing the possibility of allowing censorship of social media.

No, it is not. the First Amendment hasn't gone anywhere. I don't know who is discussing what, because you cite no sources, but no unconstitutional legislation will pass muster in the Supreme Court, or is likely to be enacted by Congress.

Should people allow censorship by social media to a certain extent? I am opposed to the global trend of tightening censorship from the following perspectives at the moment.

(1) Increasing influence of social media

The influence of social network services is enormous today. There are even individuals who say that posting on social network services is their reason for living, and there are many people who say that social network services have changed their lives. Therefore, the ability to post on social network services is an extremely important issue, and if social media is to make that decision, it goes without saying that the influence of social media will be strengthened. It is clear that there is a danger of removing certain categories of views under the name of "fake news," and at least one private company should not be given such authority.

(2) Infringement on people's privacy

Social network services receive an enormous amount of posts every day. Since it is impossible for humans to monitor all of them, if social media tightens its censorship, it will use AI and other mechanical searches to monitor people's posts. This will mean more surveillance on people, and our privacy will be violated.

(3) People should have the power of judgment.

It is true that allowing censorship by social media to a certain extent may improve the convenience of social network services in the sense that certain fake news and hate speech will be excluded and people will not see such problematic posts. However, fake news and hate speech have existed in people's conversations since the time when there were no social network services. People have been thinking about these things, judging the credibility of information, and choosing and discarding information even before the existence of social network services. This is also true today, when the amount of information that people come into contact with through social network services has increased dramatically. If people leave the judgment of the credibility of information to social media and believe the information chosen by social media as is, it is the same as people being controlled by social media. I am against the direction of allowing censorship by social media.

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r2 - 05 Dec 2021 - 16:54:46 - EbenMoglen
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