Last week, it was the teenage girl who was arrested for tweeting that she was about to bomb an American Airlines plane. A couple weeks prior, it was Stephen Colbert and his satirical tweet that was deemed ‘racist.’ Now, it’s a parody twitter account that mocked an Illinois mayor which has, so far, resulted in one arrest.
A lot of conservatives are up in arms over this – saying that freedom of speech should equal freedom of tweets and I’m right there with ’em, UNLESS, we’re talking legit threats.
I don’t think you can lump these three stories together. Colbert and the Mayor – I think these tweets should be ignored (or laughed at). A conservative friend of mine argued that the tweets about the Illinois mayor are slanderous. But, when it comes to slander, where do you draw the line? If you seek legal action over a twitter parody account, what is going to stop the government from arresting someone for, say, disagreeing with the President? Or voicing an opinion that he is making unconstitutional decisions? Could someone say that’s slander?
If you go down that road, we lose our freedom of speech.
I do, however, think we need to come down on threats – whether they’re tweeted, or Facebooked, or handwritten.
There is a big difference between an opinion and a threat.
There’s a big difference between saying, “I wish someone would bomb this plane” and “I am going to bomb this plane.” The latter should be taken seriously! The ‘I wish’ tweet should DEFINITELY be chalked up to freedom of speech.
That’s where you draw the line.
When it comes to social media, where do you think the line needs to be drawn? What government involvement, if any, do you think each of these three twitter scandals should have gotten? Share your opinions in the comments section below.