Most of my thoughts are inspired by the thoughts of others. I read a comment somewhere today that got me thinking about Social Media and Free Speech. Does freedom of speech give you the right to be a dick to someone? The simple answer is yes, but on some social media sites the answer is no. Many sites have rules of behavior in their terms of services that their members must abide by. Some are more liberal about what they will tolerate, while some are more strict. So why is it that some people get so hung up on having their speech restricted?
Speech isn’t just restricted online by privately held forums or other social media sites. Speech is restricted practically everywhere. What do you think would happen to you if you walked up to your boss tomorrow and called him an asshole? You would probably be fired right? Sure you could argue you were exercising your rights under freedom of speech, but do you know what the human resources department would probably tell you if you offered up that excuse? They would tell you this, that the government guarantees you right to say whatever you want and the government will never take that away from you, but the government has no hand on privately held business, that it’s all part of this wonderful democratic process.
Nearly every social media site, website, forum, and blog on the world wide web is owned by some private individual or individuals and each of those people have the right to run it in whatever way they wish. They can make whatever rules they want and you, as an individual, can either chose to abide by those rules or not. If you do not wish to and truly wish that your rights of free speech not be infringed upon by others, then your only option is to open up your own site and run it how you choose. Either play the game or pack up your toys and move along to another park.
The idea of free speech really is a myth in a place where most of the places you want to exercise it are owned by private individuals. It’s just the way it is, so why whine on and on about it?