Free speech is considered as the most fundamental right since it is the basic permise on which rely the respect of all other liberties. Without free speech, there is no democratic debate. Free speech is an essential condition to political participation and citizen’s capacity to defend their rights. However, the limits of freedom of expression remains warmly discussed. Where does stop freedom to say and freedom to show ?
Nowadays, internet became an extraordinary space of ‘democratic expression’ for it is ‘free’, open and accessible to (almost) everyone. The web can produce what is best but also what is worst. Capable or arousing or supporting massive social movements, it also became a place where information crosses disinformation, maintained in a kind of maintained fuzziness in order to manipulate the public opinion. What changes have to be done in order not to let the media making their own decisions on what can or cannot be said ?
Internet offers this new opportunity for interaction among people across the globe. It allows exchange of ideas, images and work which is unprecedented in human history and correspond to a genuine democratization to our world’s access.
However, these last months have enlightened that this tool that constitute the internet can also be self-defeating by being misused for anti-democratic purpose.Indeed, anyone can, if the manipulation of those communication tools (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) is well know, create the buzz on internet, even when this ‘buzz’ is based on worn out misconception or wrong, racial, xenophobic informations.
For instance, “Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t take into account whether a particular story is accurate or not. If it generates a lot of “engagement,” it gets moved to the top of the pile”(Thimoty B. Lee, 2016).
We are living with the idea that social media must absolutely respect our liberty of expression and our right to give our opinion. However, social media are private and non governmental entities and as such, they have their owns rules and regulations.
Official elected, activists, advertisers, militants and ordinary citizens have indeed understood that the stakes are high: the web, social media in particular, is a tool with the capacity to deeply impact spirits, manipulate public opinion, stimulate behaviors within society. This tool can influence a voter since “Two thirds of Facebook’s 1.6 billion users say they use the site to get news” (Rosen 2016).
Indeed, A lot of informations (memes, videos, images) appearing on your news feed are being promoted by political parties.
The Jihadist movement for example, could also take advantage of lack of law and regulations on social media to giver their own version of he news and spread false and misleading informations.