Who regulates online speech? Is there a digital public square?
Since the end of the election, there’s been a lot of discussion about social media’s impact on the outcome, from the circulation of so-called “fake news” to Donald Trump’s use of Twitter.
Who decides what language and imagery is permitted on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest? The platforms are, after all, owned and maintained by private companies.
Here are some thought-provoking articles about how they establish and enforce their use policies. (Note that the language and situations described are crude). Students will be provoked to think hard about free speech and who gets to regulate it.
This is not something to take lightly. This is not a moment to be complacent and go back to the lives we were living yesterday, this is a time when we have to begin looking at these issues at hand and understand more than ever how we as individuals and a community can stand up, and join the fight to stop them from worsening following the lead of a president who is openly and relentlessly racist-white supremacist, misogynist, homophobic, islamaphobic and ready to destroy any natural resource for capitalistic gain. We need to ready ourselves for the projected 4 years that our communities will have to fight for our rights, for our liberties and what already feels like for our LIVES.
Go visit Pa Nag Biag Iti Kayumanggi Nga Pilipina right now, if you haven’t already. She is putting up content designed specifically for dealing with the election, and the issues it raises, in the classroom. At this point there’s material for helping students process their feelings, regain their confidence, analyze voting results by generation, and talk about what’s happening in a politically-mixed classroom. Cannot recommend enough.
Wednesday, 11/9, was most definitely a school day. Below is an initial roundup of pieces talking about how educators and their students began to face the future together.
Dan Stone, a social studies teacher in Oakland, CA, wrote his students a letter. Then, they wrote back. He tells the story, including excerpts from these letters, in The Washington Post.
“I want you to know that your teachers love and care about each and every one of you and that the fact that we cannot protect you from these things and this election makes me feel devastated and weak.”
Jezebel posted a great survey of teachers’ stories about addressing election results, from kindergarten through grad programs.
“When my students came into the classroom, some said they didn’t want to talk about the election; some said they just wanted to hang out and talk; some asked if the class could play exquisite corpse, a surrealist writing game (which felt somehow appropriate at such a surreal moment in time); others looked like they wanted to crawl under the table. I suggested that we tell stories about fierce women in our lives as a way of honoring the historic nature of the campaign and Hillary Clinton’s place in it.”
And The Los Angeles Times has a quick piece about local students and teachers coping, with an emphasis on Latinx and trans students.
“He could have taken the conciliatory road that many Trump opponents were traveling Wednesday morning. But he said he wanted his students to voice their feelings and understand they had a role to play in the nation’s democracy.”
The article can be viewed in Spanish here.