Role Of Powerful Online Platforms In The Free Speech

Internet giants are cracking down on fringe groups online after the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.  By 12 January, Twitter had suspended more than 70,000 accounts associated with QAnon, a conspiracy collective built around the notion that Trump is a bulwark against child sex trafficking rings run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals. Facebook is scrambling to scrub posts claiming that the US 2020 election was stolen. Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores and Amazon stopped providing it with web-hosting services. 

The events of recent days are a turning point for the Internet. The decision to ban Trump came after an insurrection, not before or after, say, Charlottesville or when he said masks are optional. Is it that the “visibility” of violence was, in some twisted way, essential to this process? 

Read More at ORF.

Are social media platforms obligated to protect free speech and expression?

The fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression of Indian citizens under the Indian Constitution can be exercised only against the state. The right is subject to reasonable restrictions specified in Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution. These restrictions are also applicable to the press.  

This did not mean that citizens have the absolute right to publish views on any private forum whatsoever.

Read More at Business Today.

Liberal democracies must worry about the power that Twitter, Facebook, Google have

The right to free speech is only enforceable against the State. It is not enforceable against private entities. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple and Amazon are private firms and are free to do whatever they please — provided it is not illegal — on their platform. 

If the editors of ThePrint refuse to publish my article, they are not violating my right to free speech. If, however, the government censors my article, it violates my right. 

What distinguishes today’s social media platforms is their scale, their instantaneousness and their interactivity, which is unlike anything that came before them. They thus enjoy the power to allow narratives to strengthen and become powerful, and also the power to cut them out if they please. 

Read More at ThePrint.