Does Twitter have the right to remove James Foley’s video?
As we all know, social media has become a major thing in our lifespan. Everyone uses Twitter, Facebook or Instagram or any other kind of social media in order to know what is happening around them and around the world. Through those networks news spreads faster and reaches everybody.
We can see any kind of news on those social networks, whether it is bad or not. People have the freedom to post whatever they want and it will be public for everyone to see it. But is it right?
Let’s take Twitter for example. It removed a post for a video of James Foley being beheaded by ISIS. Was it right for Twitter to remove the post or not?
Sometimes, posts on Twitter can harm some individuals and those people think that Twitter must remove everything that can harm the users, but other think that everyone has the freedom to post whatever they want, people do not have to follow them if they do not want to.
The question here is that if Twitter’s removal of that video is justified.
First we have to see the consequences of this video on the viewers. Consequentialism is a theory that focuses on the consequences of the act (Ward, 2011, p.36). If the consequences of a certain act maximizes the amount of pleasure for a maximum number of people than this act is good.
In the case of James Foley’s video, many people were harmed from it and especially Foley’s family and friends. Some people also asked Twitter to remove the video. People do not have to see this kind of crime on those social networks. There are kids and teenagers that have access to those networks, they can see this video, and this might traumatize them. So the consequences that happened because of this video are bad, because it harmed people.
In my opinion, what Twitter did, which is removing the video, is a good choice. It is a sign of respect for James Foley’s family and friends that for them this video being posted online where everyone can see it is inappropriate and disrespectful.
If people wanted to talk about James Foley’s case, they can write posts and share opinions, not upload the video online where everyone can see it.
Twitter’s decision is justified. Twitter has the right to remove posts if and only if it harms the viewers. People have the right and the freedom to express their opinions but they do not have the right to harm the others.
Source: Ward (2011) “What is Ethics and the Media, Cambridge University press, Cambridge, p.36.