As American citizens, we all have the right to free speech. We are protected under the First Amendment to speak whatever we wish. In one sense, we love it. Free speech allows us to express our ideas, attitudes, and beliefs without approval from our government. We are free to hate Trump and free to vocalize it. However, we can also hate this privilege at times. We don't like when someone says something that we don't agree with We don't like it when someone offends us. Lately, this offensive speech has started riots, caused hatred and ended in violence. It seems to me that some citizens of the country only want free speech when it benefits themselves.
Either way, free speech is here to stay. This right alone sets our country apart from so many other countries run by oppressive and censoring governments. Our federal government has also done a good job at making exceptions to this amendment. You can't scream fire in a movie theater (unless there is a fire) and you can't walk into school make a serious threat.
If we look at Facebook or any social media site as a physical business, it is much easier to understand why we must agree to terms and conditions when using these platforms. Facebook has an owner and we are all visiting. If you walk into your office and threaten a co-worker, you will most likely be fired and face legal charges. The same situation applies if you walk into Facebook and threaten another user, post libel, etc. Terms and Conditions act as the HR department does in a company. If you break the rules, you will be fired.
Social Media sites are privately run. In order to use them, we have to sign up and agree to their rules. By doing this, we are accepting the job position and agreeing to the office's rules. If we don't agree with the terms and conditions, then we can walk out of the office. We have every right to quit the job, but as long as we are working there, we must comply with the agreement we made.
But hey, this is a country with free speech! We can always log on to Twitter and rant to our friends about our feelings towards Facebook!
Pearce Quesenberry, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Spring 2018 Media Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question: Do you think social media terms and conditions, such as Instagram's community standards, violates users' rights to free speech? Are social media platforms privately run companies and platforms that have the right to monitor use and establish rules or do you think social media functions more like a public forum?