A Speech on Social Networking Sites
Protecting teachers' private speech on social networking sites
As a result of these and a host of similar recent events, it has become increasingly apparent that online abuse and instances of hate speech directed at women, people of colour, transgender individuals and other minorities is on the rise in many online spaces. This awareness is so prevalent that Robinson Meyer (2014) writing for The Atlantic in late October 2014 described the GamerGate movement (an online hate mob responding to the increasing visibility of women in the games industry and in gaming culture, and a kind of culmination of these larger trends) as ‘an existential crisis for Twitter.’ This is particularly the case given that Twitter has become an important public space for users in not just the videogame industry but also similar ‘cultural communities that have strong online presences, including tech, science fiction, fantasy, comics, and film’ (Meyer, 2014). The mental and emotional burdens borne by the women and minorities that use these platforms are clearly disproportionate, as they expose themselves to almost limitless online abuse. While many users clearly feel that this situation is unacceptable and can no longer be ignored, the question remains, what can practicably be done about the problem of harassment and hate speech on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter?
Digital free speech on social networking sites should not be limited
"Speech on social networking sites – as with speech anywhere – has the potential to inform and enlighten as well as to outrage," said Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "It is imperative that courts recognize and uphold First Amendment protections in order to give all manner of expression sufficient breathing space to thrive online. No speaker should be threatened with prosecution – let alone held in jail as Mr. Cassidy was here – on the basis of allegations of 'offensive' speech."
Experts have stated that “,” creating numerous possibilities for a wide variety of lawsuits. A manager “poking” an employee on Facebook might give rise to a sexual harassment claim. Or perhaps an employer may rescind a job offer to an employee after learning via Facebook that the applicant is of a particular religion or sexual orientation. While these types of lawsuits seem inevitable, claims concerning employee speech on social networking sites have already become prevalent. The crux of this tempest stirs up several things you might want to consider. The first thing is to ask what difference it made that Evan’s comments were “published off campus”? The second thing to wonder about is the crime of promoting hatred and why no one raised that issue. The third thing, and this is vital to the world of social networking, are there limits to freedom of speech on social networking sites?The announcement that the Supreme Court will not hear any case this term involving the First Amendment rights of students punished for off-campus speech on social networking sites left one thing firmly established: That the law is not firmly established.