The First Amendment was established in 1791 and has since been a pillar of freedom that comes with living in our country. But its complicated.. and with the innovation of technology and various media outlets, the question has to be asked–Should the First Amendment be regulated for our own good? Tim Wu discussed his research on this topic in “Is the First Amendment Obsolete”. Wu explains how the acts of “trolling” and “flooding” are essentially disseminating false information and manipulating people. Wu goes on to say..

“Among emerging threats are the speech-control techniques linked to
online trolling, which seek to humiliate, harass, discourage, and even destroy targeted speakers using personal threats, embarrassment, and ruining of their reputations.”
-pg 560

From my own media usage in the United States, I instantly think about President Trump and his usage of “trolling” to tarnish the reputation of his competitors. I immediately think of how President Trump dubbed Marco Rubio “Little Marco” in reference to his small stature. Although maybe perceived as harmless, this nickname stuck and to some viewers made “Little Marco” seem weak and not to be taken seriously.

Donald Trump deletes tweets after Marco Rubio goes after Twitter ...

“Flooding” is another term used by Wu which describes the alternative approach to censorship which serves as “listener targeted speech control”. Flooding is thought to be more effective than censorship because the arrest or attention given to those that are censored may only bring more attention to their words. An example of flooding in my experience has been the mass generation of “bot” related posts. The people that are using these bots on our social media have influence on how they spread their ideologies and can have massive influence on users who do not seek additional information.

Moving forward, I believe that our Government should regulate use of flooding and trolling in our society. I believe that freedom of speech should be preserved but that blatant creation of fake news that can cause hysteria or worse should be illegal and have consequences.

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