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Say What? I’ve Got Freedom On Facebook!

Everyone in this planet has the right to express what they feel, they think and most especially they have the freedom to voice it out in any language they think best represents their sentiments. Facebook exists to let people from around the world connect with each other even behind the curtain of computer screens. Social relation, that is what the social network originally pursued. However, as everything in this world change and evolve so does the way people are utilizing social media, particularly the biggest player, Facebook.

First, with the creation of Fan pages on 2007, comes the freedom to market and advertise. Marketers may utilize strategies on how to buy Facebook fans, but that is their prerogative as long as it follows the platform’s terms of use. It is their freedom to determine what is and what’s not good for them.

Second, it has become an outlet for strong speech that veers on promoting hate. Take for example, year 2009, when Facebook has disabled two of the five Holocaust denial groups when it has obviously violated Facebook’s terms. Some have protested why only two and not all five?

It seems like even with these examples of prejudice and racial discrimination, Facebook has defended that they support freedom of speech. In fact, one Facebook employee, Ezra Callahan, a Jew himself, took these posts as a mere action to express what people feel even when the ends are personally offensive to him and to the Jewish community. Here are some feedbacks from both Calahan and Facebook spokesperson, Barry Schnitt.

“You do not combat ignorance by trying to cover up that ignorance exists. You confront it head on. Facebook will do the world no good by trying to become its thought police.” – Ezra Calahan

 

“We believe in Facebook’s mission that giving people tools to make the world more open is a better way to combat ignorance or deception than censorship,”

- Barry Schnitt


Third, Facebook is teaching kids that they have the right to freedom of speech. Children use the social-networking  platform not for social connections and information but to express their thoughts and opinions on things that are obviously affecting them. Some may be a little overboard with their language regarding teachers and the school, but it is stipulated on the First Amendment to the US Constitution – that protects freedom of speech.

Fourth, employees who share their sentiments and thoughts about their employers or companies on Facebook is protected as it is considered as a free speech. Even the National Labor Relations Board supported that Facebook-related termination is, in fact, unlawful and employees can sue the company or their employers.

On The New York Times“that company social media policies that prohibit making negative remarks about one’s boss or company online are actually in violation of labor laws that protect employees’ right to talk about things like wages and working conditions.” – NLRB Representative

With the proliferation of social networking sites and their growing dominance on the internet, people are afforded the right to free speech. However, the question remains. How much is too much? What do you think?

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