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Initiated by former President Donald Trump, potential reforms – or even a complete repeal – of Section 230 of the Communication Stand Act, could spark outrage at either end of the political spectrum.

Section 230 currently allows social media companies to regulate the material posted on social networking platforms. With the widely acclaimed possibility Changes to Section 230, many ask what exactly this law is and why it affects them.

Although both ends of the political spectrum want the section to be changed, the reasons and means are drastically different. Many Republicans believe that Section 230 should be repealed as it is viewed as an attack on a person’s freedom of expression and an attempt to silence the Republicans. However, the Democrats want to reform the law in order to hold “big tech” companies – such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – accountable.

Political science junior Gloria Alvarez said she believed factually inaccurate or hateful social media posts should be flagged instead of being banned from the platform.

“Wrong or false information is dangerous because many people use social media as their primary news source,” Alvarez said. “Companies should be held accountable for the clearly false and immoral statements made by the ignorant” [users]. “

Alvarez said officials should have their posts flagged as incorrect instead of removing them. However, Alvarez said that posts harassing or abusing minors should clearly be removed from social media.

Political science professor Dwight Roblyer said that as a nation, the United States government has made decisions for the benefit of the community for centuries. With seat belt regulations and road laws like stopping at red lights, the government often enforces laws that restrict personal freedom. Sometimes the government chooses to protect individual freedom within the framework of the social order. For example, Roblyer said it was still legal to burn the U.S. flag in protest.

“To quote a Duke academic, ‘Freedom of expression is one thing, reach is another,'” said Roblyer. Freedom of expression is not what people think it is. “

Roblyer said that individuals cannot use their freedom of speech to divulge national security secrets to another country or shout “Fire!” in a crowded environment when there is no danger. First Amendment rights are tempered by a list of things in favor of social order, and Roblyer said he recommends “zooming out” and looking at the picture from every angle.

Communication manager Marlowe Overocker said Confirmation failure and Groupthink are reinforced by social media algorithms. Overocker said she believes social media feeds project what a person is interested in or what beliefs they hold and return more posts that corroborate them.

“People see posts that target beliefs they already have,” Overocker said.

Overocker said this results in individuals being unable to gain perspective on other points of view and instead just repeatedly affirming their own opinion. Similar, “Cancel culture” makes it difficult for individuals to learn from their mistakes or to refrain from insensitive posts in the future. Social media then virtually deletes the “canceled” person from feeds and timelines.

The culture of resignation leads to people becoming friends with those with whom they disagree, ”Overocker called. “Nobody is allowed to open their mind.”

Overocker said their A&M communication courses often have discussions about the ethics at play in laws dividing the nation. In a relatively unbiased environment, students have the opportunity to express their views and consider those who disagree.

Overocker said it was acceptable to permanently suspend accounts on Twitter as long as users are allowed to appeal. She said she supports regulating social media; However, she believes platforms need to report what is banned and give perpetrators an opportunity to appeal their cases. Your goal is to make sure Republicans and other political groups don’t silence each other.

In Roblyer’s words, the rights of the First Amendment are tempered by a list of things for the benefit of society.

“It’s a compromise between freedom and order,” said Roblyer.

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