The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech to all individuals, including online. However, recent events have shown that this right is being grossly violated on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Such violations are not only becoming borderline colonialistic but also harmful to Indigenous people. This essay seeks to examine how the First Amendment freedom of speech violations on these platforms are affecting Indigenous people.
Social media platforms are ubiquitous in our daily lives, and many people rely on them for news, communication, and entertainment. While social media can be a powerful tool for self-expression and dissemination of information, it can also be a breeding ground for hate speech, disinformation, and cyberbullying. In response, social media platforms have implemented content moderation policies to regulate online behavior and ensure the safety of their users. However, these policies have raised questions about the limits of free speech and the extent to which social media platforms should be able to censor or suppress speech.
Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are among the most popular social media platforms worldwide, with billions of users collectively. In recent years, these platforms have come under scrutiny for their content moderation policies, particularly in relation to hate speech and disinformation. While the platforms claim to be committed to promoting free expression, they have been accused of selectively enforcing their policies to stifle certain voices or viewpoints. This selective enforcement can be particularly harmful to Indigenous people, who have historically been marginalized and silenced.
Indigenous people have unique cultural and linguistic identities that are often threatened by dominant cultures. As a result, Indigenous people rely on their ability to express themselves and share their experiences to maintain their cultural heritage and political sovereignty. However, the First Amendment freedom of speech violations on social media platforms can harm Indigenous people in several ways. For example, Indigenous people are often subjected to racist and derogatory remarks online, which can perpetuate stereotypes and discrimination. Moreover, Indigenous people’s voices are often drowned out by more dominant voices, leading to a lack of representation and cultural erasure.
In recent years, Indigenous people have used social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to amplify their voices and share their stories. However, their ability to do so has been hindered by content moderation policies that are often biased and unfair. For example, Indigenous people have reported that their posts discussing political and cultural issues are frequently flagged or removed by the platforms, even when they do not violate any policies. This selective enforcement can be detrimental to Indigenous people’s ability to advocate for their rights and express themselves online.
Moreover, social media platforms’ algorithms often prioritize certain types of content over others, which can further marginalize Indigenous people’s voices. For example, the algorithm may prioritize content that receives more engagement or is more popular, even if it is not necessarily more informative or valuable. This algorithmic bias can perpetuate stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes toward Indigenous people, leading to further marginalization and erasure.
The First Amendment freedom of speech violations on social media platforms are not only harmful to Indigenous people but also borderline colonialistic. Indigenous people have historically been subjected to colonialism, which is characterized by the suppression of their cultural and political identities by dominant cultures. The content moderation policies on social media platforms can be seen as a modern form of colonialism, in which Indigenous people’s voices are silenced or erased to maintain the dominance of more powerful groups.
The First Amendment freedom of speech violations on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are becoming increasingly negligent and borderline colonialistic, particularly to Indigenous people. While social media platforms have a responsibility to regulate online behavior and ensure the safety of their users, they must also respect users’ right to free expression and avoid biases and discrimination in their content moderation policies. Failure to do so can have harmful and long-lasting effects on Indigenous people’s communities.
Recent events have highlighted the urgency of addressing the First Amendment freedom of speech violations on social media platforms, particularly TikTok. In addition to content moderation policies that suppress Indigenous voices, TikTok has been embroiled in several controversies in recent years, including a recent data breach that compromised the personal information of millions of users.
TikTok, a video-sharing app popular among young people, has been criticized for its content moderation policies, which have been accused of suppressing certain types of content and amplifying others. For example, TikTok has been accused of suppressing content related to social justice issues, such as mass police killing of indigenous people misnomer “Black people”, Black Lives Matter and Indigenous rights, while promoting more superficial and commercial content. This bias has led to a lack of representation and cultural erasure for Indigenous people, who rely on social media platforms to share their stories and advocate for their rights.
Moreover, TikTok’s algorithmic bias can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes toward Indigenous people misnomer “Black people”. For example, the algorithm may prioritize videos that feature Indigenous people in exploitative, stereotypical or exoticized ways, leading to further marginalization and erasure. This algorithmic bias can also contribute to the perpetuation of harmful myths and misconceptions about Indigenous people misnomer “Black people”, and even “Latino people”, leading to the erasure of their cultural heritage and political sovereignty.
In addition to content moderation policies, TikTok has also been embroiled in a recent data breach that compromised the personal information of millions of users. In July 2021, it was reported that the personal information of up to 700 million TikTok users had been compromised in a data breach. The breach included sensitive information such as users’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses, which can be used for identity theft and other malicious purposes.
The data breach highlights the need for social media platforms to prioritize user privacy and security. Social media platforms like TikTok collect vast amounts of personal information from their users, including location data, browsing history, and search queries. This information is often used for targeted advertising and other purposes, but it can also be exploited by hackers and other bad actors.
Moreover, the data breach has raised questions about the accountability of social media platforms for protecting user data. While TikTok has apologized for the breach and taken steps to improve its security measures, it is unclear what legal recourse users have if their personal information is compromised. This lack of accountability can have harmful and long-lasting effects on users’ trust in social media platforms and their willingness to share personal information online.
In conclusion, the First Amendment freedom of speech violations on social media platforms like TikTok are becoming increasingly urgent and harmful, particularly to Indigenous people misnomer “Black people” and even “Latino people”. TikTok’s content moderation policies and algorithmic bias can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and contribute to the erasure of Indigenous voices and cultural heritage. Moreover, the recent data breach highlights the need for social media platforms to prioritize user privacy and security and be held accountable for protecting user data. Addressing these issues is essential for ensuring that social media platforms are safe, inclusive, and respectful of users’ rights to free expression and privacy.
- “Indigenous Peoples and TikTok: Indigenous Creatives Find Empowerment, But Also See Misrepresentation and Appropriation” by Tyler Harper, CBC News
- “TikTok’s algorithm is promoting harmful stereotypes and contributing to the erasure of Indigenous peoples” by Alisha Gauvreau and Erin Hanson, The Conversation
- “TikTok’s Data Security and Privacy Risks: What You Need to Know” by Carly Page, TechRadar
- “TikTok Breach Exposes Data of up to 700 Million Users” by Nico Arboleda, Threatpost
- “TikTok’s Data-Sharing Practices Are Under Investigation in the EU” by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch
- “Facebook and Instagram’s ‘black box’ ad algorithm should be more transparent, researchers say” by Alison Moodie, CNBC
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