Social media is important in the 21st Century, especially now when it is so many peoples’ primary mode of communication. It allows us to access many different opinions and opportunities to learn with just a quick scroll through our timelines. The downside is that some of these opinions are upsetting or untrue. In light of the recent cancelling of several public figures, I disagree with Twitter’s decision to remove such users from their platform.
People are always going to have offensive opinions, whether they’re public or not. Silencing dangerous voices only makes victims out of idiots. As an advocate of free speech, I think all opinions should be publicised so it’s easier to combat miseducation and call out hateful voices. Freedom of speech is not freedom of consequence, which is why people like Katie Hopkins receive a good social battering for spreading ignorance. This should be her consequence – the distrust of people and consequent loss of job potential.
The consequences Hopkins faces should be in proportion to how people were affected, but this doesn’t explain Twitter’s place in who gets cancelled or not.
The consequences Hopkins faces should be in proportion to how people were affected, but this doesn’t explain Twitter’s place in who gets cancelled or not. When the social media platform was set up in 2006, it was supposed to be a representation of what people were thinking, surely regardless of whether that was right or wrong. Co-founder and CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, described Tweets as “a short burst of inconsequential information”. Whereas this comes from an understanding only a decade after social media was invented, especially given how digital communication has become, it still summarises that the site is intended to be used to express fleeting thoughts.
Twitter has become a place of dialogue and debate, a place where bigotry is exposed, and people are educated. Though the company is completely within its right as a private publisher to remove and moderate content or users, it has a responsibility as one of the top social media platforms. In order to properly educate and represent the views of its users, Twitter must remain unbiased or else change its whole claim to dialogue and therefore become entirely responsible for the content on its platform.
Katie Hopkins does not deserve fans or money because of her views but martyring her does not erase dangerous voices. They must be exposed, expressed, and consequently debunked by better arguments.
Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons
Last modified: 30th July 2020