Social Media Censorship Has Gone Mainstream: Here’s How You Might Be Affected
Social media is being censored more than ever…and people have strong opinions about this controversial topic. Some believe platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have the responsibility to stop the spread of misinformation and hate speech, while others fear that these platforms are mainly censoring political views and putting a stop to free speech.
According to Pew Research, two-thirds of Americans do not trust the ability of social media platforms to objectively choose what should be censored. That begs the question, which platforms are censoring content, and what criteria are they basing this censorship on?
No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, there is a chance that social media censorship could affect you. Here’s how your posts might be censored and what to do about it.
How social media censorship relates to free speech
Censoring what you say on social media is a violation of your free speech, right? Well, not exactly. According to the First Amendment, free speech is the government’s responsibility. Private companies like YouTube and Twitter are allowed to monitor their platforms in whatever way they choose.
Still, it’s obvious things are changing. Many would argue that social media platforms have become the new public square and the main forum for public discourse. People are certainly using their social media posts to express their political opinions more than ever before.
If you’re against the idea of social media censorship, you might be curious to find out which platforms are the most censored so you can find alternative channels for your posts. While it can be difficult to determine exactly what causes a post to be censored, checking the community standards of each site is helpful.
Censorship on various social media platforms
Have you ever been thrown in Facebook jail? Your post may have been flagged for misinformation, hate speech, obscenity, or harassment. Or perhaps your post didn’t have any of these elements and it’s a total mystery as to why it’s been flagged.
The problem is this: Facebook and other social media platforms don’t offer lots of information about why they censor specific posts. People are often left guessing as to why their posts have been taken down. Plus, Facebook does not offer direct customer support for Facebook or Instagram to handle disputes.
On the censorship scale, YouTube, Instagram, and Tumblr tend to be the most censored. Reddit is consistently the least censored mainstream social media platform, while Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat typically fall somewhere in the middle.
When talking about social media censorship these days, most people are referring to censorship of political views. Both conservatives and liberals have claimed they are being targeted for having specific political opinions.
Yet, there are many aspects of social media censorship that most people can agree are necessary. Not allowing hate speech or harassment, for example, is very important for helping everyone stay safe online. There are also concerns about nudity and obscenity which are not covered under the first amendment.
The trouble comes when social media platforms take it upon themselves to determine what is misinformation and what isn’t. Most people don’t trust these companies to have an unbiased opinion, particularly when it comes to hot-button political issues.
Everyone is impacted by social media censorship, whether they’re aware of it or not. Even if your post hasn’t been taken down, you’ve probably been prevented from seeing someone else’s posts and the algorithms may limit your engagement if your content is flagged. And if your post has been taken down, you may face a time when your account is suspended.
If this happens to you, your best option is to write to the support team of the site you’ve been banned from. Perhaps they made an error in taking down your post and they will reinstate your account. If this fails, you may have to wait until the end of your suspension period before posting again. Having a bad experience might lead you to leave behind mainstream social media platforms altogether.
Top social media platforms for free speech
Lots of people are migrating away from Instagram and Twitter in favor of social media platforms that encourage free speech. You’ll have to think of your primary goals on social media when deciding whether or not to switch platforms. If you rely on having a huge reach as an influencer or business owner, you may need to stay mainstream to have enough followers. If you mainly want to stay in touch with old friends, chances are you’re better off sticking to the most popular platforms as well.
For those who want to start a new community where free speech is key, there are lots of options. Keep in mind that some of these platforms require you to find a host server for your account. Because of this, they may be less user-friendly than mainstream social media platforms.
The best alternatives to Facebook are Mastodon and MeWe. If you’re tired of Instagram, you can switch over to Pixelfed. For a comparable platform to Twitter, check out Gab. You can also use BitChute instead of YouTube.
Everyone deserves to have a place where they can express themselves freely. You can avoid being censored on social media by choosing the right platforms. And who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a great community in the process.
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