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UK information communication professor: limits to social media free speech is tricky

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Stu Johnson
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UK Associate Professor of Information Communication Technology Spencer Greenhalgh

Social media is a big part of many Americans' lives in 2022. Citizens of all ages participate on many different platforms. In Today’s Interview we examine this phenomenon in the context of how the Buffalo shooter may have been influenced by a messaging board. Here’s Stu Johnson with Spencer Greenhalgh, University of Kentucky Assistant Professor of Information Communication Technology.

A tragic mass shooting like that in Buffalo can cause a re-evaluation of influences in society. Reports about the incident have indicated the gunman participated in white supremacy through social media. Spencer Greenhalgh is an assistant professor in Information Communication Technology at the University of Kentucky. He said being emersed in a particular social media environment can have adverse effects.

“You might convince each other of certain things and the more time you spend in a particular social circle, the more you’re going to start thinking like them, not identically to them. But, you’re going to pick up their mannerisms and you’re going to pick up their language,” said Greenhalgh.

Greenhalgh says content moderation should also have its boundaries. But, in the same way Greenhalgh says free speech guidelines within social media are important.

“Free speech, this American ideal that’s really really important. I don’t mean to suggest that free speech isn’t important, it’s tremendously important. But, free speech might not be the best way to look at, it might not be the best perspective that we bring to bear when we’re considering what should be allowed to be said in places like Facebook and Twitter,” said Greenhalgh.

Greenhalgh said there is a place for content moderation, but he added sometimes there is overstepping and content taken down.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.
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