Social Media Platforms Should Censor Harmful Content


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Ella Pope, Opinions Writer

Recently, social media outlets have reached larger audiences, with multiple platforms such as Facebook and Instagram having over one billion monthly active users. The new number of users has brought many changes for the companies who own these sites, as more people bring more of their thoughts and opinions to social media.


Many social media sites have created new policies regarding what content is allowed on their platforms. Twitter’s hateful conduct policy states, “You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.” Many other social media platforms have similar policies, and this causes many users to be banned from these apps.


While some people would argue that they shouldn’t be able to censor their users and that it violates their first amendment right or freedom of speech, private companies have the right to allow whatever content they deem acceptable. 


The first amendment stops the government from restricting freedom of speech, but because social media aren’t government-owned, they are able to make their own decisions. 


The greater controversy surrounding censorship on social media surrounds censoring political figures and parties. One example of this is when Donald Trump got banned from Twitter. The reasoning behind the ban was due to an incitement of violence regarding the storming of the capital that happened in early 2021. 


In their statement, Twitter said, “Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly… However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things.” This sparked outrage, and many people claimed that the ban was politically motivated, and not for the reasons shared, leading many to wonder if Twitter should have been able to ban him in the first place.


While everyone should be able to share their opinions, people should be able to feel comfortable in spaces online. The best way to do this is to censor certain types of thoughts people share. Without any censorship online, extremely hateful groups and communities can form, and this can end in harm coming to those groups. By monitoring their sites, social media outlets create safe spaces for everyone involved.