For centuries, it has been argued and question whether people can freely express their thoughts and opinions out loud. Even to date, with rising democracy and power among individuals, one can still argue over how freely one can openly express their views. Freedom of speech is a phenomenon that had two extreme sides to it. Some deem it to be a source of self-powering and some see it as a threat to the rights and lives of others.
Instead of going to the broad aspect of freedom of speech, I will talk in terms of the impact freedom of speech and the uses it can create for the current rising trend of the social media. I personally feel one should maintain or portray themselves as very neutral. But that is not what it is for, and that is entirely my take on it for I myself am like that. For most people, it is platform to raise their voice against anything that feels important enough to them. It could also be in favor of something that they feel others should know about. Now this is practicing freedom on social media. But freedom would also be if someone openly criticized the same person on their personal views. Real freedom would be when one person openly expresses their views and others respect it along with posting their own views as well.
“Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”
Freedom of speech has resulted in quite a lot of events that may have no resulted otherwise. For example, the recent event of a Pakistani school girl became a subject to verbal abuse on social media only for mistakenly speaking wrong English. The girl saw the amount of memes and videos made over it and was highly affected. She had stopped going to school and refused to leave her house out of utter embarrassment. This shows how badly one can get attacked through freedom over social media.
I myself have been a subject to social harassment and pretty much everyone has been at some point or the other. The picture below is a screenshot of the fake account that had been created under my name. Not only this, there have been many such cases with my own relatives and friends. Although harmless, these moves made by people on social media can be quite difficult to deal with at times. After reporting it to the Instagram authority, I did receive am email confirming that my complain is under progress.
This blog by Aaron Rubin, Scott M. Sawyer and Hywote Taye published on August 31st, 2015 talks about the several laws concerning the name social networking websites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Instagram had updated its community standard page in April 2015 to clarify its policies. Which means the rights of the users on these sites are protected to quite and extent.
However, social media can be widely used to raise a social cause or awareness which can benefit the society or individuals. Women activists, politicians, pressure groups use this platform to reach a huge audience in just a few minutes.
If I now talk about how well social media laws are implemented in my own country, I will not have much to say because the law here is quite weak and especially when it comes to social media laws. Even if I speak about the positive points, and even though all of us (including the users) are aware of the negative aspects of social media, no one will ever stop using it. It is going to remain as important a part of our lives as it is even now and we will continue to ignore anything bad we get to know about it. None of us can ignore the fact that it is a very essential part of our lives now, something that has become pretty much a necessity.
It will always remain a question whether freedom of speech is really benefiting or not. People are always going to express their views either for it or against it and this will go on in a never-ending motion.