ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Liberal Guide to Content Regulation on Social Media

How social media platforms provide a forum to foster political liberty and are hence useful from the liberal standpoint are demonstrated. In order to ensure that they continue to act as platforms that serve to enrich liberal goals, regulation of the content posted on social media platforms is a responsibility that must be bestowed upon the right actors. Showcasing the unsuitability of the major existing actors in the field of regulation, an alternative solution is proposed in this article that can maintain the integrity of the platforms’ liberal fabric.

Social media pervades every aspect of our increasingly digitised lives. Not a newspaper, but a tweet to go with one’s morning coffee is perhaps the routine way of life for many. With its ever-expanding user base, the social network provides a fertile ground for hosting a wide range of opinions, sentiments, and debates. Dubbed as the “Twitterati,” users of platforms like X (formerly Twitter) find themselves actively scourging their feed for their daily dose of information. Social media platforms make it a child’s play for them to not only consume content but also contribute to the dissemination of information on any subject and in any form.

However, social media as a tool can facilitate the amplification of not just innocuous content (say, a recipe for chocolate chip cookies), but also potentially dangerous information (for example, terror propaganda). While this form of speech is not a new phenomenon, platforms like X and Facebook have shifted societal dynamics in a way that favours heavy reliance on content generated on these sites. Recognising the potential effect that such speech can have on the orderly nature of society, there have been growing calls for regulating such content in accordance with a fixed set of standards. This begs the question of who should regulate this content: the platforms themselves, the state, or any other alternative agency?

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