Social media censorship, Amarillo expert says it’s allowed

Updated: Feb. 7, 2021 at 10:58 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Social media censoring certain posts is an issue being seen across the country, even in Amarillo.

“Because we are using the services and the website of a private company, we don’t have quite as many free speech rights as we might think,” said Dr. Nick Gerlich, Hickman professor of marketing, West Texas A&M University.

Dr. Gerlich says freedom of speech goes away when we accept the terms and conditions.

“We are using it at their mercy, literally. When we check that little terms of service box without having read any of the verbiage behind it, we’ve given away some things in the process,” said Dr. Nick Gerlich.

He said there are certain things social media platforms will not allow.

“They will not condone violence, they will not condone criminal behavior or otherwise objectionable content,” said Dr. Nick Gerlich.

That doesn’t mean they will censor everything we think they should.

Dr. Gerlich said the community standards set by social media platforms are monitored and ever changing, but just because social media doesn’t see a post as threatening, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something.

“We need to protect ourselves since the way of you know from now on is going to be online,” said Sergeant Carla Burr, Amarillo Police Department.

Sergeant Burr says with the pandemic, she thought more people would be reporting issues experienced online.

“Because this is how we communicate more, I would think that the numbers are higher with this. I think there’s probably a lot that goes unreported,” said Sergeant Burr.

Sergeant Burr encourages anyone who has felt threatened, unsafe or harassed by something on the internet to at least call the police department.

They may encourage a report to be made, which Burr says could be helpful in the future.

Sergeant Burr says there is an advantage to making a report every time an incident happens.

This way, if the issue were to turn into sometime more down the road, it has been documented from the beginning.

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