The idea of free speech

***NOTE: I am NOT promoting this site.***

Being from the U.S. and as the ideals from my home country have spread across the world, one of the biggest ones is the First Amendment a.k.a. Freedom of Speech. Having the spotlight shine on the U.S. for the last month and a half because of the presidential election also brought out a lot more people using the term “fake news”.

What I mean by “fake news” is, social media platforms, mainly Twitter and Facebook, made users aware of information and/or articles posted that contained questionable or completely false information by either putting a tag with it; or in some instances hiding the information completely so it could not be shared. This included having posts by the current resident of the White House having such tags on his tweets.

Once the election showed favor for Biden/Harris I noticed some of my Facebook friends posting an event they were interested in as well as some memes to mock the event. I had never heard of Parler until I saw these types of posts. The company was established in 2018 so it is still relatively new compared to the other sites.

Being I am the type of person who will research something to understand it better I Googled “leaving Facebook for Parler” and 3,970,000 results came up. From what I saw on the posts from people who said they were leaving to join Parler, along with most of the articles that came up in the top search results, it appears Parler is for mainly Republicans/Conservatives. The reasoning seems to be they feel they are being targeted more than any other political group and are being censored. However, from all the articles I have read there does not appear to be anyone group that is being specifically targeted. The reasoning Facebook and Twitter are adding these so-called censorship tags, is to stop false information from spreading. The other policy standards that appear across all of the social media platforms, including Parler, are criminal activity, terrorism, child pornography, copyright violations, fraud, a call for violence and spam posts will be taken down. The difference between Parler and the other social media platforms seems to be Parler is okay with sharing false articles such as drinking bleach to kill Covid. According to a Washington Post article, Parler’s content moderators are a couple hundred volunteers while Facebook has hired thousands of people to monitor content.

The “common sense” part of me says, yes there is freedom of speech however it does not mean freedom of consequences. Those consequences can be something as simple as having your account suspended for a period of time to losing your job depending on the degree of the violation. In my experience, people in the U.S. tend to forget that. To me, freedom of speech means I can say I think the President is not the brightest crayon in the box knowing I will not be arrested and put in jail for saying that. However, I do understand that can cause other people to get mad at me and report me to the social media monitors with the hopes in having my account suspended. I must stress I understand that this thinking generally applies to the U.S. and does not carry across to another country that has a Freedom of Speech policy because each country has different views on what Freedom of Speech is.

In conclusion, I say use social media for what it was intended for: sharing funny videos of pets, uploading awesome pictures taken with friends or from traveling and connecting with new and long lost friends 🙂

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  • syliaca
    Posted November 23, 2020 at 9:18 am 0Likes

    This is a very rough topic. Not being a part of Parler (although I might take a look now because this sounds fun as hell) I am not entirely sure how it’s environment is. I think you are right about the definition of free speech and it should never be adopted as ‘being able to say anything without consequences’, but I also very much understand conservative thinkers joining Parler to be able to speak among themselves on a platform they deem there own ‘safespace’, because that is exactly what it is. I very much love using social media to create political discussions on social media, because they can actually be very fruitful and there’s such a great variety of different opinions.

    • mmhesse
      Posted November 25, 2020 at 8:00 pm 0Likes

      I agree with you in having discussions however the thing I have noticed is the people who have the need to join things like Parler are not interested in having an open mind and a friendly, informative back & forth. I just have to laugh on how the stereotypes regarding conservative speakers always scream ‘safespaces’ are bad and yet they created one. It’s hilarious in the irony to me. If you do join please let me know I would love to hear how it goes. Some of the articles I read about people who are not as conservative joined & decided to push the envelope on what they posted to find out their accounts were disabled without explanation.

  • Julia.J
    Posted December 17, 2020 at 1:57 pm 0Likes

    Thank you for writing this post! I was very confused about Parler for a while, I have seen some of my Facebook friends posting about how Facebook is censoring them and that they are moving to a space where freedom of speech is allowed. But after checking profiles of these people I realized that they all are sharing posts like “BREAKING NEWS Bill Gates wants to kill us all, millions of people are speaking up” or “facemasks are killing more than Covid”. I never visited Parler but that gives me an impression of what can I find there. Well now at least they will close themselves in a filter bubble and not spread it so much. But jokes aside, it is scary how fake news are present everywhere and people who spread them consider it as their right. There is a big need for education because it looks very pessimistic.

  • Hidde
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:41 pm 0Likes

    As far as I’m aware, there’s a slew of alternative online platforms which function as a wild-west version of mainstream media platforms, and besides hosting a lot of conservatives, I think they host far-right groups too. Obviously stemming from similar grievances with ‘big-tech’. Besides free speak having consequences to those who speak the words, I think it’s also important to highlight how absolute free speech also can endanger other people’s freedoms, or freedom of speech. Still, it would be nice if people only post nice things online, but I think it’s also a good thing people can expose themselves that way.

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