Hi everyone, and Happy Independence Day! I hope you are all enjoying some down time this weekend. The tech world enjoyed a little down time this weekend itself, and as a result I don’t have a lot to report. But one trend stood out this past week, one that I think is just beginning: social media (and whole countries, even) stepped up their banning of content. It’s fitting that these events are taking place around the celebration of our independence; we are seeing the battle between “freedom of expression” and “the right to be free from harassment” playing out on the social media stage. A quick rundown of the biggest stories:

Why lawyers should care There will be many who say these actions by social media companies violate our First Amendment rights. There’s also an argument that none of these social media companies are governmental entities, and they have the right to govern their platforms as they see fit. Indeed, the CEO of Reddit stated:

I have to admit that I’ve struggled with balancing my values as an American, and around free speech and free expression, with my values and the company’s values around common human decency.

In the case of India, we can see how an entire government’s power can take away content platforms that are being used by millions of Indians every day.

No matter where your opinions fall on this issue, we are just in the beginning stages of trying to figure out how all of this  works, and as usual the law will play some part in determining its outcome.

Even if you don’t care about the legal aspects involved, I’m guessing most of you use one or more of the platforms that took action this week – so it’s in your best interest to know what those platforms are doing, and how they are trying to serve you as a community member.