First, they insisted that free speech was a right regardless of what was said and how it was said, then years down the road, they flipped and insisted that some things were not to be said. Welcome to the scam of free speech on social media.
I remember years ago here on MobilityArena.com, when some individuals showed up and would post abusive comments. I argued that free speech did not cover abusive speech, and I, as chief administrator of this website, proceeded to consign such comments to the dustbin.
Some people screamed and yelled and said I was a dictator who had no respect for free speech. Unfazed, I continued to delete any abusive comments submitted on MobilityArena. I was not going to turn a blind eye to abuse by one person against another.
Those who wanted free speech without any form of responsibility moved on to other platforms where the administrators were too weak, too naive, or too concerned with the numbers to see what was going on and take a stand for what was right.
Free Speech On Social Media
Social media has blossomed since then. Whether it is Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or some other social network, the humans of the world gathered like flies to a carcass. And unfettered free speech was let loose without any responsibility required of those speaking.
It didn’t seem so bad at first, but then it degenerated. And the wake-up calls began to happen. Suddenly, administrators of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook woke up to the reality that they would have to step in to keep abusive behaviour in check. It soon became clear that unfettered free speech on social media, and elsewhere, was a scam.
The world has had to embrace the very thing I had insisted on years ago – that free speech came with responsibilities and no-one had the right to say just anything just because they could.
Free speech on social media quickly degenerated into hate speech. We could say anything to anyone, regardless of how it hurts them. We now had free speech after all. But as it snowballed, the need to act against it became clear.
It is interesting how quickly and far the pendulum swung – from absolute free speech to the need to police hate speech.
But beyond hate speech, another evil sprung up. It was also mild to start with but soon assumed mega proportions, the hydra called fake news.
Whether it is on WhatsApp, Facebook, or Twitter, fake news has taken huge proportions. And once again, the Lords of social media had to admit that something had to be done to combat fake news as well.
Whether battling hate speech or combating fake news, the reality is that people are now required to be responsible in what they publish. We have come full circle from that situation years ago in which people were up in arms over the need to allow everyone say what was on their mind, regardless of whether it hurt people or not.
Cyber Bullying And Mob Action
From discouraging bullying in schools and at places of work, many have come to embrace it on social media. Every day, people get bullied and harassed online under the guise of fighting for a cause and free speech on social media. And right on the shoulders of bullying have risen the monster of mob action.
Certain people delight in ganging up on those who express opinions different from theirs. They attempt to mob them into silence or retraction. The court of public opinion, especially on Twitter, is a vocal, vociferous one. They will have their pound of flesh should you take a stand contrary to theirs. This has to stop too.
We are all seeing how destructive hate speech, fake news, cyber bullying, and mob action are to individuals and to the society as a whole. It is blowing up in our faces now.The scam of free speech on social media has come full circle.
Simply put, individuals have to be held accountable for what they post on Twitter, on Facebook, on MobilityArena, and elsewhere. And wherever anyone’s speech violates another, action must be taken.
That is what I stand for. Here on MobilityArena, we have refused to give in to the scam over the years and continue to take action on abusive content submitted by users. Where necessary, a user gets banned.Our goal is to keep this platform a safe space for everyone. Every single user.
Unrestricted free speech on social media is a huge scam. What the world needs is free speech that is responsible, sensitive and considerate.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.