The First Amendment And Internet

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According to the Constitution, the First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech (Volokh). This amendment allows citizens to freely express their ideas through written/spoken words and media such as pictures and films. However, at the same time, they are exposed to a wide range of public opinions and views that may come into conflict with their own personal beliefs and cause discomfort. With media becoming more accessible and public, more facts, opinions, and statements can be spread even if they are unpopular or inappropriate. The First Amendment provides independence for the speaker and the audience as well as the entitlement to establish different perspectives on what the individual reads and hears. Despite this freedom, the First Amendment fosters the lack of protection against the dangers and threats that are present online. As the internet becomes more commonly used, it allows anonymity, leaving people vulnerable to the unlimited forms of expression being spread and therefore, it makes it easier for internet trolls to misuse this right and achieve their goal of harassing their target. The First Amendment of free speech raises a lack of and the level of proper authority interference in the social life online. Without firm regulation and policing, it leaves the responsibility of reporting unjust and harmful media posts to the people who come across it. Even if it is reported, the social media platform or the source of authority does not necessarily take the proper actions to confront the problem that is present. Consequently, people have a contradicting attitude toward freedom of speech and government/authority intervention. In other words, citizens wish and demand for freedom, yet they also request for patrol and protection. Thus, the border that lies between: (1) freedom and monitoring and (2) what is considered appropriate or harmful becomes unclear. As a result of this matter, it enables the abuse of this God-Given freedom. According to Lindy West, these internet trolls weaponiz[e] free speech to maintain cultural dominance. In the view of the fact that the internet allows anonymity, it encourages the trolls, even more, to act as they please. Anonymity functions as an effective mobilizing force for violence (Bailey). For this reason, the internet transforms into a platform for hate speech. In addition to anonymity, the unrestricted and universal use of the internet creates easy targets for the trolls to harass.

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