“In today’s networked surrounding, when anyone can broadcast live or post their believes to a social network, it would seem that censorship ought to be impossible, ” Zeynep Tufekci writes in our
special issue about online free speech. But while the social internet devotes everyone a voice, it also has countless ways of penalizing people for speaking.
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An African American writer calls out racist hate speech–and get suspended from Facebook. A young adult writer watches her unpublished fiction kindle a firestorm on Twitter before anyone has even read it. A Muslim civil rights lawyer self-censors, and then determines herself hoping that a white man will say what she was thinking. A well-known conservative firebrand abruptly becomes one of the biggest targets of far-right trolls. A Google engineer writes a
controversial memoranda, and instantaneously becomes a rogue to one army of online readers and a hero to another.
These are just a few stories–told in the subjects’ own words–that capture what it’s like to live and post in this, our corrosive, divisive, democracy-poisoning golden age of free speech.
Songwriter and activist
On being blocked by Trump, and suing him for it
I had an alert that would go off whenever Trump tweeted, and I would reply to most of his tweets. I think it was a Sunday morning: I posted a GIF of the Pope kind of looking at Trump funny, and my tweet said, “This is pretty much how countries around the world sees you.”