OC sounds off: Facebook censoring Trump

Maisie Jesse and Conner Stegen

For (Maisie Jesse):

In response to the Jan 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol by Trump Supporters, different social media platforms suspended and/or banned President Trump from using their platforms, claiming he violated their rules and regulations by inciting violence. 

One of the biggest surprises was Twitter locking his account. Originally, Twitter said that his account would be locked for 12 hours following the removal of 3 specific tweets and any further  violations would result in a permanent suspension. Facebook had a similar response, saying that his account would be locked for two weeks at minimum. Two weeks later being President Elect Biden’s Inauguration. 

On Jan 8, Twitter permanently suspended President Trump’s account due to the risk of further incitement of violence. Many claim that these social media platforms are censoring Trump and they could very well censor all of us or the news we get, however that is simply not the case. 

There is no free speech ¨right¨ to incite violence. Incitement to violence is a criminal offense, no matter what political party you do or do not belong to. There is a clear reason for this: violence is dangerous. It harms those who are immediately targeted (the 5 people who died in the riots) and those who are intimidated as a result of the violence to take action or speak up against it. To suggest taking action against speech that incites violence is censoring the speaker, would be misleading. 

There is also no free speech argument that guarantees any citizen the right to express their views on a specific platform. If this right were to exist, it would mean that any citizen could demand to have their opinions aired on a news channel and if denied, say their free speech had been violated. 

What does exist is a general right to express yourself on social media, relatively free from regulation as long as your speech does not harm others. Trump still possesses this right and could speak his opinions to us at any given time. Just because he is our president, that does not mean he is exempt from all the laws. 

We must work to ensure harmful speech is regulated in order to ensure our country stays safe. Anything less than that from any citizen would be ignoring our principles and ethics as a country. 

Against (Conner Stegen):

Trump has recently been censored on multiple internet websites and this is a Big deal. Many people were wanting this and most of Trump supporters were not . Whether you agree with what he says or disagree, one thing is true: an American citizen is being stripped of their First Amendment right.

I don’t agree with a lot of the controversial stuff he says on Twitter or Facebook, but this is unconstitutional. The founding fathers wrote in our constitution we will have freedom of speech, which we did not have when we were ruled by a monarchy government. So why does an American citizen, president or not, get stripped of a american right?  

As well as Facebook is an American owned company, so why do people like Mark Zuckerberg get to say whatever they want but others don’t? This censorship is unconstitutional because we cannot support something which takes away a right we fought so hard to get. With all the technology we have, why is it when we can message across the world in seconds, why is it now we fail the first amendment?

We cannot support something which takes away a right that we use in everyday life. A lot of news stories like the Watergate scandal could have never been reported because the government would have censored it. There are many stories that we read that would have never existed without the First Amendment. 

We cannot stand for the censorship of President Trump because it is an American right to have freedom of speech. And if we give the biggest social media apps the right to censor our content, then why can’t they censor everything we post?