Do You Watch What You Say on Facebook and Twitter?

Social media and free speech -- the debate continues.

Published: May 24th 2011
in Culture » Society


Social media has become a large part of our daily lives, and the concept “freedom of speech” has taken on a whole new meaning when you can pretty much say whatever pops into your head at the quick push of a button or touch of a screen. With the mass use of Twitter and Facebook, everyone is allowed to have an opinion on anything and everything without censure.


However, shortly after Facebook opened its digital doors to the world, smart employers saw it as an opportunity to find out more about potential employees. Suddenly fans were beginning to enhance privacy settings, remove embarrassing photos and pay extra attention what they would write on their walls and the walls of friends.


Then came Twitter. Most Twitter accounts (especially those of famous personalities) are open to the public. Many have little to no privacy settings to keep their tweets accessible to attract more followers. Twitter accounts are meant to be much more public than Facebook profile. That being said, social media users must be weary of the opinions they express.  




It might get you fired.


Rogers Sportsnet on-air reporter, Damian Goddard, was recently fired after some tweets in agreement with a hockey agent’s anti-gay marriage stance. Inevitably, the network claims that Goddard’s termination of employment is not related to his controversial tweeting.


Goddard had tweeted in support of Todd Reynolds, a hockey agent from Burlington. Reynolds caused a hullabaloo of his own for claiming that New York Ranger Sean Avery’s participation in a TV ad supporting gay marriage was  “very sad” and “wrong.”


Goddard tweeted that he very much agreed with Reynolds’ position and said “I completely and wholeheartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.”


Shortly after, Rogers Sportsnet took to their own Twitter feed to respond to several viewer complaints; they stated that the views of Goddard were not a reflection of the network. A few days later he was let go from his job as an on-air reporter.


Many public figures have been trounced for views shared on Twitter that may offend others. Celebrities are under a lot pressure to ensure that the views they express on Twitter do not offend the public or sully their images. Online personalities are a public reflection of who we are. They represent us physically (photographs) and mentally (posts, tweets). Even if you are not a hugely public figure, employers are watching you. So, does this mean that we should censor ourselves in fear of job security?


Goddard’s statements are politically incorrect from a contemporary standpoint, but does this mean he should be reprimanded for them? Some of us share the views of the general public and some of us do not, but punishment for this seems debatable.

Related articles: (Facebook, Twitter, Social Media, Rogers Sportsnet, Damiam Goddard, Sean Avery)

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