At it’s foundation, it’s been dubbed as an echo-chamber for racism. And while most social channels have worked extensively to address racism on their networks, Gab has remained mostly hands-off. According to an article by BBC, the founder believes that people should have the right to free speech, especially as it relates to political discourse. He identified that people were being censored, especially individuals with extremely conservative ideas. However, following the shooting they released a statement indicating that they condemned acts of terrorism and violence. But the problem is that online hate speech is up 600% according to Macleans and there’s a blurring of lines between free speech and hate speech.
But Gab is thirsty. They have a long way to go if they want to catch up to Twitters 300 million users, (Gab has about 400,000.) Following the shooting yesterday, they tweeted this:
Here’s what social media users need to know and understand:
(1) Not all speech is protected.
In Canada, many people are surprised to find out that free speech isn’t what they thought it was; it’s not absolute and there are restrictions. Things like hate speech and defamation (libel) actions are excluded. So the answer is “yes”, if you live in Canada you can be fired for what you post online, even if it’s on Gab. However, the USA is a little grey on this. The exclusions include speech around obscenity, child pornography, fighting words and offensive speech etc. Though it’s unclear as to when these restrictions are actually upheld. According to the Los Angeles Times, hate speech is protected in the USA.
(2) Free speech doesn’t mean free from consequences. (Even Gab is learning that.)
There are many stories of people in Canada and the USA who have been fired from their jobs, lost contracts, services etc., as a result of what they shared online.
Examples of people fired for Social Media posts:
And the list goes on and on and on.
You can be fired for what you post online if:
How can we avoid these uncomfortable situations as an employee? Or as an Employer?
As social media continues to evolve, employers need to be proactive about how to integrate discussion and policy into the workplace. And everyone needs to understand that they’re responsible for what they say and do both online and offline.
Other Related Blogs:
Social Media, Free Speech, Employee and Employer Rights: that day a woman got fired for flipping off the President
Think, before you think, before you post
Social Media and Freedom of Speech
What happens online doesn’t stay online
Social Media lessons: Addition Elle, “fat” and Facebook
Social Media, Freedom of Speech and Employment
Social media doesn’t happen in a vacuum (think, before you think, before you post!)
An employee you just terminated posted a scathing video to YouTube, what’s your next step?
When can you fire an employee for a social media post?
Social Media Training For Employees