Monday, October 13, 2014

Twitter, News & Issues concerning free speech and First Amendment

I addressed this weeks question, “What are constraints on free speech and First Amendment for the News Industry,” by examining a recent issue regarding Twitter and its news issues concerning free speech and the First Amendment. I also addressed key terms, what the First Amendment does not protect, facts concerning news accounts and how micro-blogging changes news. Twitter has many active news accounts, thus allowing news to spread viral very quickly.

Twitter is suing the United States government with the hope to provide more transparency to their users in the future. Ben Lee, the vice president of Twitters legal department says, “It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government surveillance—including what types of legal process have not been received.” Twitter wants to be able to provide as much information as they can for their users, but the government has a different perspective on the topic. The National Security Agency and FBI want to protect and defend the country from real security threats, but the more information that is leaked to the public the greater risk they have of losing this ability.

At the conclusion of my presentation I presented discussion questions to the class. My first question asked was, “How do you think this court case will end? Why?” Every person that answered the question believes that Twitter will win this court case. One classmate mentioned that the Patriot Act is very strict and serious so they will stand by what it says. Another stated that Twitter will probably win the case, but there will be restrictions and exceptions set in place. The second questions asked was, “Do you think Twitter is more beneficial or detrimental to news media and journalists? More beneficial or detrimental to society?” This question diverged into a different direction asking how Twitter acts as a news source itself, as well as, for other news companies. There was good class participation and feedback during the discussion

Video News Clip
FOX News Network, LLC. (Oct. 8, 2014). Twitter sues gov’t over limits on revealing surveillance. United States: FOX News. Available at:

Bruns, Alex, and Jean Burgess. (2012). Researching news discussion on twitter: New methodologies. Journalism Studies, 13(5-6): (801-814).

CNN Wires. (October 7, 2014). Twitter sues U.S. government over national security data. Retrieved from:

Dominic L. Lasorsa, Seth C. Lewis & Avery E. Holton (2012) Normalizing twitter, Journalism Studies. 13:1 (19-36).
Edwards, Lilian and Matwyshyn, Andrea M. (April 24, 2013). Twitter (R)evolution: Privacy, Free Speech and Disclosure. Retrieved from:

FOX News Network, LLC. (Oct. 8, 2014). Twitter sues gov’t over limits on revealing surveillance. United States: FOX News. Available at:

Straubhaar, Joseph, and Robert Larose. (2008). Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture and Technology. Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth Company.

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