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Freedom of Speech: Who Makes the Rules?

Freedom of Speech: Who Makes the Rules?

January 19, 2021

The Trump era will redefine freedom of speech. He crossed the line and new rules, and regulations will follow.

Freedom of speech was on a roller coaster ride over the last few weeks.

The final days of the Trump presidency was so bizarre had they not been happening with the whole world to watching, it would be hard to believe the anarchy and unrest incited by a sitting president was possible.

It started four years ago when Donald Trump became president. The consensus of most people in the United States and certainly in Canada is that he lies. And he lies a lot.

His main form of communication was via Twitter. The world listened intensely to his tweets, truthful or not.

After the November U.S. Presidential election, there was a progression of intensity and seriousness of Trump’s allegation without supporting evidence that the federal election had been stolen from him as a result of voter fraud orchestrated by the opposition.

This raised the intensity of his tweets.

Then the unthinkable happened on January 6. Trump fanned the boiling hostility of his followers to such a degree they marched on the Capital Building in Washington DC that houses the US Congress and the U.S. Senate.

The angry mob of protesters overthrew and for several hours took control and occupied the Capital Building.

This is the point that the line was crossed. This is the point that will impact freedom of speech going forward.

Days later Trump was impeached for the second time in just over one year. Congress had ruled against him for incitement of insurrection.

So had social media ruled against him. Trump’s online presence was halted by the actions of Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple and Amazon. The president had gone too far.

Stage One. Social media giants censored the president.

Stage Two. Now governments will have to provide regulation that controls free speech in our modern social media world.

Freedom of speech. Who sets the rules? Social media giants or governments?

 Peter Watson, of Watson Investments MBA, CFP®, R.F.P., CIM®, FCSI offers a weekly financial planning column, Dollars & Sense. He can be contacted through www.watsoninvestments.com