Social Media Ethical Issues

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Case Study Paper When it comes to being someone that participates in social media, the issue of rights of speaker vs rights of listener comes up often. People on social media want the freedom to post their thoughts and opinions without being filtered, but that isn’t how things work. Social Media companies have to deal with handling objectionable speech and over regulation, because having too much of both can drive people away. But issues come when the “listener” feels that someone’s post is offending, threatening, or insulting. This creates tension though because of the first amendment, dealing with freedom of speech. This issue came about at the University of Tennessee, where a tweet was investigated that was posted from one of the law professors, …show more content…
The other side to the Reynold’s case was those who saw it related to the first amendment. This is one’s freedom of speech, and David Guth, who was part of the investigation, stated in The Tennessean that, “The tweet was an exercise of his First Amendment rights.” (Boehnke, 2016) He argues that Reynolds had the right to express his thoughts and feelings, even if it is offensive and hateful to some, it just goes against the norm. There was no proof that Reynolds would actually take action to harm the protestors and run them over. Andrew Weil, writer for Insider Higher Ed commented that, “It 's not inciting violence, inciting violence is when you intend to cause and are likely to cause an imminent lawless act.” (Weil, 2016) This agreed with those who got put in charge of the investigation through the University, who decided no disciplinary action will be taken against Reynolds because of his First Amendment rights after examining the facts, the policies in the University’s Faculty Handbook, and the law. A commitment that the college puts forth is the fact that they want to portray, “freedom of speech, and diverse viewpoints, all of which are important for an institution of higher education and the free exchange of ideas.” (Boehnke, 2016). People on Reynolds side took this statement and argued that it applied …show more content…
In this case though, I would argue that Reynolds rights should be prioritized. There was no proof that he was inciting violence or would actually intend to harm the protestors. He was frustrated seeing that the people who were protesting were in the way of traffic, so he put forth his thought. This thought was also very misinterpreted, which is another reason I feel that his rights should be prioritized. People read the tweet and assumed all sorts of different things, things that Reynolds admits he didn’t intend to mean at all. Reynolds was strong enough to admit that he should have worded things differently, stating that, “I understand why people misunderstood my tweet and regret that I was not clearer.” (Boehnke, 2016) But he doesn’t regret posting what he did or feel that he should be punished. While some may argue that his tweet was intending to be harmful towards the public, I agree that not only was it simply misunderstood, but that his freedom of speech should keep him from being punished. So I feel that the ruling of him not be fired was

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