• Jocelyn Hanamirian

    Jocelyn Hanamirian is a School of Law lecturer and assistant director of the BU/MIT Technology Law Clinic, where she is a clinical instructor teaching IP and technology law and advising student start-ups. She can be reached at jvhanam@bu.edu. Profile

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There are 3 comments on POV: Putting the “Mass” in Mass Media

  1. Thank you for this insightful article. While I agree that there are certain issues that arise when the user base of platforms such as Twitter reaches a certain threshold, I strongly believe that it should be left to the discretion of the platform in question when creating regulations that limit certain forms of expression. After all, such platforms are essentially private companies, operating on the same terms as public news platforms. Does the government interfere in any way in regulating what the free press can and cannot publish? In the same way, the government should not be interfering in what the public can and cannot post on such platforms. Twitter has specific guidelines that dictate what is considered “inappropriate”, just like the free press has guidelines as to what they consider not publishable. UGC platforms also have an incentive in maintaining a certain level of order in what is published, as not doing so could lead to negative outcomes, and only then would the involvement of government be necessary (UGCs don’t want that to happen as it costs them money/time). The argument of *size* being a deciding factor in getting the government involved, has, in my opinion, little merit, as it contradicts the way government handles the free press, and in general, the way US society functions.

  2. While I agree with Matthew P about the fact that Twitter is a private platform and how it runs is up to its discretion, I do think that is it concerning how Twitter has become so massive to the point of, if not well regulated, could be used by adversaries to influence a large part of the population, from interfering with elections, spreading misinformation to inciting violence. A recent example of this would be the Capitol riot at the start of this year, where Twitter played a significant role in instigating the rioters. Whether the permanent suspension of former President Donald Trump on the platform violates the Constitution is still up for debate, one thing is for sure is that Twitter did not take action quickly enough, letting misinformation spread until it was too late.

  3. Great article! I think the point you raise about size being an inadequate measure of a common carrier is a really important one. It was interesting to see you comparing the user base of a platform like Twitter to the massive Instagram following of a celebrity like Kim Kardashian, as well. Do you think that the issues of effective policy stem from a government of mostly older folk less in touch with modern technology? The argument that policy should be based on function is an interesting one, as well. What do you think would be some feature-based rules that would dictate the necessity of policy? And how would that handle cases of smaller, newer platforms and services that may fill similar roles? Do you think it might deter entry into this industry, and is that necessarily a bad thing? Also how would policy of an American government effect services and platforms that have millions of global users? Especially in the case of a company like TikTok, that isn’t necessarily based in the US?

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