How do we cope with a Tweeting leader? Should tweeting be subject to censorship when it spreads lies or hatred by anybody – no matter who? Are social platforms really publishers even though they think they are not? What power does an ordinary citizen have? If I protest, do I deserve a backlash from people who voted for the leader – even though they think they had a numerical majority when most reliable sources say they didn’t – but they believe the lie because a certain leader tells them so. Now when the press is called the opposition party, I really wish Marshall McLuhan were around to help us straighten out the time worn phrase that the media is the message.
Social media have been professing themselves as merely the conduit of free speech for quite a while. Perhaps it feels different lately. Faith in letting people say anything they like seems to be wavering among tech leaders – especially when it affects their own employees as it did last weekend. We all need to pay attention, reframe and rethink responsibility in a digital age.