Freedom and Sensitivity: Possible Twitter Troubles Ahead
The hashtag stirred up a love/hate relationship for many Twitter users. The hashtag features suggestions for violence in a domestic relationship. The topic became popular not because persons were adding suggestions but because they were upset about it. Many users openly condemned the hashtag saying “this is ridiculous! How about reasons to go to jail?” Many users offered suggestions to Twitter on how to manage future cases like this through petitions against domestic violence.
Many corporate bodies emailed Twitter asking them to remove the offensive tweet. Arguably many persons believed that the individual and its contributor’s accounts should have been blocked for inciting domestic violence. On the other hand while some of these contributors might not be necessarily violent persons but just individuals who thought if funny to contribute to the topic trending. One cannot help but think that such acts contribute to the promotion of domestic violence in our current culture.
The above incident brings the question to mind as to whether or not social media sites should censor the content posted by users. Should Twitter censor offensive content? A number of questions also exist about: what exactly is offensive and to whom? Do social media sites have an obligation to protect the interest of their users? Should offensive content be pulled? All these questions point to the issue of freedom of expression.
In Twitter’s case many persons demanded the censoring of such information and even offered suggestions as to how it should be control. Twitter, amidst widespread protests never removed the hashtag, rather the trending topic died in a matter of 24 hours according to Trendistic.
Oddly, there were no Twitter rules broken by the trending topic as there are no rules which speak to censoring information. Twitter has denied in the past ever censoring and information which was posted on its site. Offensive trends will continue to exist as long as there is medium through which to communicate them. In fact, last month’s offensive topic was #RapistSongs. Like it or not judgment calls are up to Twitter.
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