Harsh words, trolling, divisiveness - social media platforms are battlegrounds that are proving difficult to navigate. Public and private employers are increasingly looking at exactly what their employees are saying and what they can do about it.
The Justice Department has requested Facebook provide information on activists involved with the "DisruptJ20” protests which occurred during President Trump's inauguration. The American Civil Liberties Union is arguing that the request not only chills free speech, but also gives the DPJ unfettered access to thousands of personal records.
At an invitation-only event at Georgetown University law school, Attorney General Jeff Sessions jumped into the debate over campus speech by stating that the First Amendment had suffered from "political correctness and homogeneous thought" and that "a national recommitment to free speech on campus" was needed. While some applauded the administration's commitment to free speech, protestors rallied against attacks on the First Amendment by the administration.
Over the weekend, President Trump took aim at players who have more explicitly over the past year taken to kneeling, sitting or raising a fist during the playing of the National Anthem in order to bring awareness to racism and police brutality. In response to the President's tweets, NFL players in games across the country responded by kneeling or sitting out the national anthem. Debate bubbled over on social media over whether this was a fireable offense or freedom of expression.
From fake Russian ads to anti-Semitic ad targeting, Facebook's ad algorithms have failed the company and its users. This week Facebook's C-suite promised to make changes from working with Congress to prevent future tampering to adding employees to check language. Can Facebook reign in the Wild West of free expression on its platform?
In a recent Brookings survey of current undergraduate students at U.S. four-year colleges and universities, researchers found that "Freedom of expression is deeply imperiled on U.S. campuses." A lack of understanding of First Amendment protections imperils the future of free speech. Is it to late to fix the underlying misconceptions?
It has been five years since Jack Phillips said he would not bake a cake the wedding celebration for David Mullins and Charlie Craig. They filed suit arguing that Phillips demeaned them while Phillips says he has a right under the First Amendment to free expression and the government cannot compel him otherwise. This fall, the Supreme Court will hear Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, No. 16-111.