Some Social Networks Really Are Censoring Political Speech
Are you worried about social media influence on political discourse?
Social media censorship has been a controversial issue in 2019. Social media companies have content guidelines that differ from the exceptionally broad range of expression covered under the First Amendment, and social media platforms will typically censor political speech when it contains hate speech, incites violence, or contains lewd or pornographic content. Fortunately, outside of extreme or graphic speech, most social media platforms are tolerant of a broad range of speech and ideas.
However, one relatively new (and wildly popular) social media platform, TikTok, has been censoring political speech without any clear political content guidelines. The Chinese-owned social media platform has been strangely silent on the Hong Kong protests, and videos that mention Tiananmen Square, Tibetan independence, or the banned religious group are promptly deleted. As TikTok gains popularity in America, some are worried about the implications that this type of censorship may have on elections.
While the legality and wisdom of any social media censorship is up for debate, most social media companies avoid blanket bans of issues and events. Like all social media companies, TikTok is a private platform and can set its own content guidelines. TikTok is also not a news platform. However, the ways we consume media are changing, and social media plays an undeniable role in shaping the national discourse. Should we be worried about severe social media censorship? Let us know in the comments below.
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