Free Speech Ideals Heated Political Themes Prevail On These Sites Which Draw Praise From Their Users And Skepticism From Other Americans
This study explores alternative social media sites as an emerging part of the news and information landscape using a multi-method approach. The seven sites studied are: BitChute, Gab, Gettr, Parler, Rumble, Telegram and Truth Social. Sites were included in the study if they had publicly accessible posts, were mentioned in news media, and had at least 500,000 unique visitors in December 2021.
The survey portion of this analysis was conducted May 16-22, 2022, among 10,188 U.S. adults. Everyone who completed the survey is a member of Pew Research Centers American Trends Panel , an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATPs methodology. Respondents were asked about their familiarity with each of seven social media sites: BitChute, Gab, Gettr, Parler, Rumble, Telegram and Truth Social. Those who reported having heard of these sites were also asked whether they use the sites and get news there, how they feel about them, and more.
Larger/more established social media sites: Social media sites that have achieved widespread awareness and usage. In this study, this often refers to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
% Of Prominent Accounts On Alternative Social Media Sites Were Banned Elsewhere
The free speech philosophies of these alternative social media sites have attracted some user accounts that were banned elsewhere. This may be connected to the perception among Americans who are aware of these sites but dont get news there that the sites host misinformation.
Indeed, 15% of prominent accounts across the seven sites, including Trumps account, have been indefinitely or permanently suspended, banned or demonetized on more established social media. This is particularly common on BitChute, a video-focused site, where about a third of prominent accounts have been banned or demonetized elsewhere.
In a number of cases the banning or demonetization was based on evidence that they had spread misinformation and inaccurate information .
The content on these sites also raises some questions about the credibility of the information found there. In June 2022, the most prominent accounts commonly linked to digital-only outlets such as The Gateway Pundit, Rebel News, Zero Hedge and Breitbart each of which have been banned or demonetized by technology companies or other social media sites for misinformation or hate speech. Overall, during this period, there was a clear preference for material from other social media and relatively new, digital-only news sites rather than legacy news organizations like print publications , radio or podcast sites or television sites. In fact, the same share of links went to The Gateway Pundit as to all print publications combined .
The University Of Oklahoma Celebrates Free Speech Week
OU celebrates Free Speech Week to emphasize that diverse perspectives are welcomed and integral to the educational environment. This year Free Speech Week will be observed October 17-23, 2022.
This week marks the national celebration of Free Speech Week. This annual, non-partisan event recognizes the freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution the rights of free speech, inquiry, and expression, which have been at the heart of the great American experiment since our very founding.At OU, these rights are so ingrained in what we do as a university that we believe its essential to mark the occasion. Thats why weve set aside time to recognize Free Speech Week as a university. A slate of events will be offered during the days ahead, and I encourage you to participate. Read more about OUs commitment to Free Speech and the Chicago Statement.
Joseph Harroz, Jr., President
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A New Court Could Upend A Free Speech Precedent
Its unclear how the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court will view these types of questions about social media.
Papandrea said what gives her a lot of unease is that the court could fundamentally change our view that free speech allows people to criticize powerful public figures.
She pointed to the 1964 New York Times v. Sullivan decision, which allows everyone to criticize public figures.
Project Vote V Moncrief
CIR represented Anita MonCrief, a former employee of Project Vote, a subsidiary of ACORN. After she left Project Vote in 2008, Ms. MonCrief became a vocal critic of both organizations. In 2009, Project Vote filed suit to silence Ms. MonCrief…
Case Status: Victory. While the case was pending in the Third Circuit, the plaintiff agreed to settle the case on terms favorable to our client.
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Lyle V Warner Brothers Television Production
CIR filed an amicus brief urging California Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that discussion of sexual themes in writers’ meetings for the television show ‘Friends’ created a hostile work environment and is not protected by the First Amendment…
Case Status: Settled by stipulation filed July 6, 1999.
A Law To Fight Social Media Censorship
Conservatives like Trump have long felt targeted by social media companies. A Texas law addresses that, allowing residents to sue platforms with 50 million or more US monthlyusers over allegations of censorship.
It would be a shock for social media companies to suddenly adopt a First Amendment, almost-anything-goes attitude, Mary-Rose Papandrea told me. Shes a constitutional law professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law and leads the universitys Promote Democracy initiative.
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Sypniewski V Warren Hills Rsd
In 2001, CIR working together with New York law firm KMZRosenman filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Thomas Sypniewski, a high-achieving senior at a Washington, N.J., public high school, after he was suspended for wearing a Jeff Foxworthy t-shirt…
Case Status: Victory. Defendant Compton’s motion for Summary Judgment granted on August 31, 2000.
Friedrichs V California Teachers Association Et Al
CIR represented ten California teachers and the Christian Educators Association International in a landmark effort to re-establish the right of individual teachers and other public employees to decide for themselves whether to join and support a union…
Case Status: Successfully closed. The Maryland case was dismissed, the Pennsylvania case was settled, O’Keefe entered into a plea agreement in the New Orleans case, and the California case was settled.
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Affordable Housing Development Corp V Fresno
CIR won an important free speech victory in 2006 in its defense of California resident Travis Compton. Compton had been accused of federal housing discrimination by a low-income housing developer angry over Comptons public comments critical of the developers plans to seek tax exempt bond funding for his project…
Case Status: Loss. District court injunction granting “cease and desist” order affirmed by 6th Circuit. Supreme Court denied owner’s petition to review D.C. Cir. ruling denying review of FCC procedures.
Why Freedom Of Speech Is The Next Abortion Fight
A legal battle in Mississippi will test whether states can criminalize those who merely provide information.
In the middle of July, three big blue billboards went up in and around Jackson, Mississippi. Pregnant? You still have a choice, they informed passing motorists, inviting them to visit Mayday.Health to learn more. Anybody who did landed on a website that provides information about at-home abortion pills and ways to get them delivered anywhere in the United Statesincluding parts of the country, such as Mississippi, where abortions are now illegal under most circumstances.
A few days ago, the founders of the nonprofit that paid for the billboard ads, Mayday Health, received a subpoena from the office of the attorney general of Mississippi. The subpoena, which I have seen, demands a trove of documents about Mayday Health and its activities. It may be the first step in an effort to force Mayday Health to take down the billboards, or even to prosecute the organizations leaders for aiding and abetting criminal conduct.
Mayday Health is not backing down. This week, it is taking out a television ad on Mississippi channels and putting up 20 additional billboards. This makes the legal fight over the Jackson billboards a crucial test in two interrelated conflicts about abortion that are still coming into public view.
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Alternative Social Media News Consumers Largely Satisfied With News They Find There Which Is Often Government And Political News They Wouldnt Have Seen Elsewhere
For many users, these sites are an important source of information about current events often government and politics news and they report finding news that they wouldnt necessarily find elsewhere.
A majority of those who get news on at least one of the seven sites say a major reason they go to these sites is to stay informed about current events and issues. And much of what they see is government and political news: 52% say this is the most common type of news they come across on these sites.
In general, alternative social media news consumers like their experience there. About half or more of news consumers on Rumble, Truth Social, Telegram and Parler say they are very or somewhat satisfied with the experience of getting news there, and this overall satisfaction extends to their perception of the accuracy of the information they find. Fewer of the news consumers on each of these sites roughly a quarter or less say they are dissatisfied with the experience, while the rest say they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
These news consumers also say that much of the news they see on alternative social media sites is information they wouldnt find elsewhere. Roughly half of news consumers who get news on at least one of the seven sites say they at least fairly often come across news on these sites that they would not have seen elsewhere, with an additional 32% who sometimes encounter unique news there.
Limitations To Ones Freedom Of Expression
The above instruments provide a number of guarantees for the freedom of expression, but this right is also counterbalanced by the right of the state to establish limitations for the sake of morality, public order, and general welfare:
In the above instruments, ones freedom of expression is subject to the following limitations:
For the purpose of morality, public order, and general welfare
For the protection of national security or of public order , or of public health or morals
In the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary and
To ensure the protection of national security, public order, or public health or morals .
Thus, both the discussion and implementation of the right to freedom of expression must be put in the context of establishing a proper balance between the right and its limitations.
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Norman Wang V University Of Pittsburgh Et Al
CIR is representing Dr. Norman Wang, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who was disciplined for publishing an article in a scientific journal that analyzed the extent and effect of racial preferences in medical education over the last fifty years. Wang has been on the faculty at the School of Medicine…
Case Status: Victory in District Court. Defendants are appealing.
American Free Speech Enters Uncharted Territory
A version of this story appeared in CNNs What Matters newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.
In China, censors police criticism of the countrys draconian Covid-19 policy.
In Russia, referring to the countrys invasion of Ukraine as a war is a crime.
Those authoritarian realities seem a long way from the Wild West of American free speech, where people are protectedunder the law to criticize and besmirch public figures.
Just maybe not under Twitters content policy.
Self-described free speech absolutist Elon Musks quest to turn Twitter into his vision of a marketplace of ideas that would also be friendly to misinformation and whatever else people want to say has hit an ironic snag over all the fake accounts on the platform. Musk says hes put his bid to acquire Twitter on hold ashes worried about fake accounts.
But hes said he would reinstate @realDonaldTrump, , and push the platforms policy to mirror the laws of the land, which allow even more varied and raw speech than youll find on TV or the otherbig social media platforms.
US law protects Americans from government control of their speech but lets private companies impose their own standards.
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Why Is Freedom Of Expression Important
The right to freedom of expression is enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which sets out in broad terms the human rights that each of us has. It was later protected legally by a raft of international and regional treaties.
Defending freedom of expression has always been a core part of Amnesty Internationals work and is vital in holding the powerful to account. Freedom of expression also underpins other human rights such as the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and allows them to flourish.
It is also closely linked to freedom of association the right to form and join clubs, societies, trade unions or political parties with anyone you choose and freedom of peaceful assembly the right to take part in a peaceful demonstration or public meeting.
However, these very freedoms come under regular attack by governments that want to stifle criticism.
For example, in Egypt it is currently extremely dangerous to criticize the government. Over the course of 2018, the authorities arrested at least 113 individuals citing a host of absurd reasons including satire, tweeting, supporting football clubs, denouncing sexual harassment, editing movies and giving interviews.
Case Study: Surge In Vietnamese Prisoners Of Conscience
In 2019, Amnesty released shocking research showing that the number of prisoners of conscience unjustly jailed across Viet Nam had sharply risen by a third in signs of a growing crackdown on peaceful activism by lawyers, bloggers, human rights defenders, environmental activists and pro-democracy campaigners.
The prisoners detention conditions remain appalling with evidence of people being tortured and otherwise ill-treated, routinely held incommunicado and in solitary confinement, kept in squalid conditions and denied medical care, clean water and fresh air.
Many prisoners of conscience were jailed for comments made on social media platforms and were targeted using the vague and overly broad provisions of the penal code.
One prisoner of conscience is Tran Hoang Phuc. A pro-democracy and environmental activist, he was arrested in June 2017. Tried and convicted on charges of conducting propaganda against the state for making and sharing videos perceived to be critical of the government on social media, he was sentenced to six years in prison, followed by four years under house arrest.
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Bpolitical Pluralism And Participation
|Do the people have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice, and is the system free of undue obstacles to the rise and fall of these competing parties or groupings?||4.0044.004|
The intensely competitive US political environment is dominated by two major parties: the Republicans on the right and the left-leaning Democrats. The countrys prevailing first past the post or majoritarian electoral system discourages the emergence of additional parties, as do a number of specific legal and practical hurdles. The two parties primary elections allow for a broad array of views and candidates to enter the political system, although those in many states exclude unaffiliated voters from this important stage of the electoral process. The 2020 primaries and general elections featured participation by ideologically diverse candidates across the country a similar pattern characterized balloting in the set of states and localities that held elections during 2021.
|Is there a realistic opportunity for the opposition to increase its support or gain power through elections?||4.0044.004|
|Are the peoples political choices free from domination by forces that are external to the political sphere, or by political forces that employ extrapolitical means?||2.0024.004|
|Do various segments of the population have full political rights and electoral opportunities?||3.0034.004|
Supreme Court Opens Door For Jan 6 Committee On Arizona Phone Records
The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing the Jan. 6 committee to subpoena the phone records of the head of Arizonas Republican party who was in touch with Trump and his staff while texting election officials to stop counting ballots in Arizona. Kelli Ward claimed that the quest for records posed a threat to her First Amendment rights. Ward had tried to apply the decision in Americans
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Your Free Speech Is On The Docket During This Supreme Court Term
The Court has only filled about half of its case load for the 2022-2023 term. And it already looks like a significant year for free speech at the Supreme Court.
Here are the cases Im watching:
303 Creative v. Elenis
Can Colorado compel a web designer to design custom websites celebrating same-sex marriage contrary to the artists sincerely held religious beliefs?
Background: Colorado and lower courts agreed that they were compelling 303 Creatives owner, Lorie Smith, to speak. Colorado also agreed that Smith doesnt discriminate on the basis of the customers classifications, including sexual orientation, but decides on her clients based on the requested content.
In other words, she serves customers regardless of their orientation for various projects. But she declines to create tailored website content for views that go against her own. Nevertheless, the 10th Circuit held that the compelled speech here was justified by Colorados interest in combatting discrimination.
Free Speech Implications: As my AFP colleague Cindy Crawford wrote last year,
Displacing long-held understanding of First Amendment protection of free speech to compel speech on demand whenever government declares that certain messages must be delivered would place all expressive professionals at risk.
And Smith partnered with Jack Phillips to write a USA TODAY op-ed, asserting that no one should be forced to speak messages that violate their core convictions.
Gonzalez v. Google