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    Set the Words Free (1260 words)

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    Today, people’s understanding of the articles in the First Amendment are almost the same but their thoughts on how it works might differ. In general, the First Amendment is all about freedom but the most important, and the one that people emphasize is the freedom of speech. Most people understand the rights and privileges given to them by the First Amendment, but many differ on how freedom of speech should be used and protected. This idea was explored by both Lincoln Caplan and David L. Hudson Jr., who both state their understanding of the rights of freedom of speech, and prove their ideas with the use of evidence. Caplan writes in the article, “Stress Test for Free Speech”, of his point of view when it comes to freedom of speech. Caplan gives an insight by looking at the issue from different perspectives, and he describes what free speech is meant to be and how it was created as a shield to protect people’s opinions, but is now used as a weapon by the government. However, Hudson Jr. , portrays in “In the age of social media, expand the reach of the first amendment” although his main focus is expanding the rights of the first amendment to social media and other private entities; his idea of free speech was similar to Caplan but different in how it should be controlled. Both authors make the same point in connection to free speech and social media; however, their reasons are different. Lincoln Caplan and David L. Hudson Jr. used different evidence to present their ideas of free speech, social media, and their knowledge of how it affects people and their opinion on what is acceptable.

    To say understanding the first amendment is simple is an understatement. Caplan tried seeing the first amendment from different views like the digital age, legal view, and union organizations. From the digital age, he draws out views like the first amendment protects what people post on social media from the government. The government can not take down posts that people make, but it does not protect what people post from the platforms itself ( like Twitter banning your tweet). In light of this, you can see that the first amendment itself overlaps with this. In addition to this, he also comments on how the first amendment protects speech made about the government to promote the spirit of democracy but not about speech made about private individuals. Social media does the opposite, whereby it protects speech about private individuals in order to promote a safe environment for its users, like when you report someone or you delete someone’s comment about your post. Lincoln’s claims do not stop there, as he also points out the fact that the first amendment, which was erected to serve the purpose of a shield against government powers has been made into a weapon for the government. In the sense of Trump’s Twitter account where he makes false statements daily and tries to ruin the image of the press. This is an aspect that enrages him for it is the misuse of the free speech by the president himself. He writes in “Stress of free speech” about the overlap between the first amendment and the use of social Media existence whereby Trump blocked a woman from his account which is a clear violation of the principle of the first amendment. Caplan made use of these points to talk about american democracy, the use of freedom of speech and that there is a law supporting freedom of speech. The law shows that anything said on social media will not be held accountable and that people’s opinion shouldn’t be changed. He also made a point that freedom of speech should also be added into education as well. His point was put through not only because of his opinions but also because of his use of evidence. Finally, he showed the misuse of free speech and it is destroying the democratic culture the first amendment is meant to protect.

    Although the law on freedom of speech is a shield protecting it, there are still some entities that censor unwanted opinions. Hudson Jr. displays his argument from his perspective. He writes that the first amendment only applies to government entities to stop them from censoring speeches. He also said, powerful private entities— particularly social networking sites should be placed under the amendment because they could cause more damage than governmental entities. Hudson Jr.states “The first justification, the marketplace of ideas, is a pervasive metaphor in First Amendment law that posits the government should not distort the market and engage in content control. It is better for people to appreciate for themselves different ideas and concepts.” This reinforces the idea that the justification of the amendment is that the world is filled with people with different ideas and the government should restrain from stopping the flow of ideas. Even in situations where the government does not interfere, entities like facebook engage in censorship. This causes individuals to not participate in the marketplace of ideas and do not engage in individual self fulfillment. This is just like when a government entity engages in censorship. Hudson Jr approaches the idea that in the modern age speech takes place online much more so than it does in traditional public forums. Justice Anthony Kennedy elaborated that the expansion of social media has contributed to a “revolution of historic proportions.” In other words, social networking sites have become the modern-day equivalent of traditional public forums. This societal development and change in communications capacities require that the antiquated state action doctrine be modified lest the law become ossified. The time has come to recognize that the reach of the First Amendment be expanded. A legal commentator Benjamin F. Jackson cogently explained “ Public communications by users of social network websites deserve First Amendment protection because they simultaneously invoke three of the interests protected by the First Amendment: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of association.”. This relates to the point by showing that the Court should interpret the First Amendment to limit the “unreasonably restrictive and oppressive conduct” by certain powerful private entities—such as social media entities—that flagrantly censor freedom of expression.

    Both articles present the point that people should be able to speak freely with worrying about their privacy or not being heard. Caplan presents his take on the point using the examples of global analysis on how people misuse free speech, showing how people censor and lie for their own benefit. His article also takes the idea of how social media censor people’s speech in the belief that they can not be held accountable. This ties to Hudson Jr’s article, where he compares the analysis that private entities should be placed under the amendment to stop the censoring of people’s opinions, and how people’s opinions are treasures that should be protected. However, Caplan’s article uses the path of displaying the perspective that people’s opinions are left unprotected, showing the misconducts and how no one can be punished for their deed, while acting as an introduction for Hudson Jr’s article.

    Both writer’s articles are of two different perspectives to present the same idea. Both show the idea that society should be set free,revealing the problems behind the issues. Although the articles presented different points from different perspectives, each portrayed the same argument. Points in both articles helped solidify the arguments in the other as well, which make these articles rather similar.

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