Should social media platforms be able to ban user accounts and silence their “free speech”? And is it free speech or dangerous spreading of misinformation? Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene kickstarted the new year by joining the list of politicians who have gotten their social media accounts banned. After posting a string of false claims, consisting of allegations that coronavirus vaccines were behind numerous deaths, Twitter, rightfully so, shut down the representatives personal account. This punishment was not arbitrary and this was not the congresswoman’s first violation or warning, Greene had received a handful of warnings regarding her need to share these outlandish theories.
I think the rate at which this happened demonstrates how easy it is to prevent the rather harmful sharing of blatant lies. The very fine line between free speech and reckless propaganda has time after time been crossed by several public figures, Greene just happens to be the most recent one to face the consequences of her actions. I do not believe it is the place of a representative, who is quite influential amongst a group of certain people, to be putting out claims one surely has to recognize as false, as they have been proven false by agencies such as the CDC and FDA. I do however believe that it is absolutely the right of platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and those alike, to ban accounts as a way to prevent such alarming narratives from being spread. With Covid cases reaching terrifying heights, the input, regarding case numbers and vaccinations, of a representative doing very little to keep herself and other citizens safe, is inappropriate and disrespectful.
It’s important to understand that free speech is the root of democracy. Some may call Twitter banning accounts a threatened reaction of a large platform, determined to silence Americans utilizing their free speech, when it is not that in the slightest. When a group of people who get their news or information solely from a social media platform, who has the responsibility to make sure they are getting true facts instead of someones poorly thought out claims? Representatives, congressmen, and presidents should in no way use social media as a way of venting to their supporters about their most recent disagreements, even more so if their opinions discredit proven facts and are simply posted to draw a reaction and maintain the support of their followers.
If public figures insist on making use of social media in this form, it is the responsibility of media platforms to put a stop to it.