First Amendment on Social Media

The first amendment gives people the freedom of speech, including on social media. That means people are free to express themselves online, but only to a certain degree. Since social media are private companies, they are able to put restrictions, or censor, what is posted as they see fit.

The article below has a type of speech/censorship chart which helps see what is censored on what social media sites.


Below is a tweet expressing the difference between hate speech and free speech.

While they are trying to respect people’s rights and maintain free speech, they are also trying to stop online harassment, or hate speech.


These are just a few of the images that represent what it is like when you take away freedom of speech on social media.

It’s like having cuffs on your hands.

Image courtesy of http://www.thebaron.ca/2016/03/30/freedom-of-speech-eroding-online/

It’s like being censored.

Image courtesy of http://www.casp.net/sued-for-freedom-of-speech-california/slapp-being-sued-for-first-amendment-online/

What’s more important: Free speech? Or online safety?

Image courtesy of http://ohpi.org.au/online-rants-and-free-speech/

Some social media platforms don’t explicitly ban hate speech, but they reserve the right to take down any hateful comments. Obscenity, like pornography, is banned on most social media platforms. Harassment is also banned from most, if not all, social media. Although there are restrictions on what can and can’t be posted, freedom of speech for online mediums is there.