Twitter- a social media platform used by millions to express their thoughts and feelings in 280 characters or less. Anyone who’s anyone, and their mother, have a twitter account. If you’re interested in meaningless drama, overused jokes, and world leaders talking like high schoolers, it’s the place to be.
Twitter has both its perks and downfalls. It is by far the easiest and fastest place to catch up on all the news and gossip, both locally and internationally. It’s also user friendly, and anyone with a brain cell can figure it out. But that’s part of the problem: it allows anyone to use it, from world leaders to rapists to middle schoolers. According to Statista, there are 330 million active Twitter users, which is a truly untamable number. That means it’s far too easy to spread fake news and rumors.
Donald Trump’s tweets are infamous. Whether you support or detest him, everyone has something to say about his internet usage. According to NBC news, Trump recently tweeted fellow world leader Kim Jong Un that the U.S.’s nuke button is “bigger than his.” This sparked debate- is it really appropriate for the president of the United States to be talking about our military security for everyone to see? Many say no, according to NBC news. And this is not the first instance of his disregarding safety of the country for internet views. While his tweets can be informative and important, there are too many that put the people of the U.S. at risk.
A recent incident with famous YouTuber Logan Paul also sparked debate over how far is too far on social media. According to The Gulf, Paul posted a video to YouTube making fun of suicide victims while walking through a place in Japan known as the ‘Suicide Forest’. After posting the video, he received major backlash and took the video down after a few hours. It still spread like wildfire, though, through multiple platforms, including YouTube and Twitter.
Both of these incidents raise questions: when will the line be drawn on what is appropriate and inappropriate internet behavior, especially for sites such as YouTube and Twitter? Will people such as Trump and Paul, who put others in danger and post harmful things for all to see, ever be restricted from using platforms to boost themselves? And it does not only go for those who are influential and famous, but also more ‘common’ people who may be dangerous- rapists, pedophiles, racists, and just bullies in general.
Part of the overall issue is how the Constitution may play a role in how the internet is censored. The First Amendment states freedom of speech for all. But, it is also illegal to threaten the president, or yell ‘fire’ in a theater because it puts people at risk of harm. The internet is also international, so the Constitution does not really apply in the overall scheme. That being said, some may be hesitant to censor content for fear of violating the First Amendment.
Many of the things seen as ‘passable’ on the internet are entirely not okay -some even illegal- in the non-internet world. So why do we allow it in this technology-based age? Shouldn’t appropriate behavior be expected whether behind a screen or not? Social media platforms such as Twitter need to do a better job of censoring content and making the internet a safe place for all.