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Trolling and Flooding

Tim Wu argues that contemporary changes in speech control can cause language to be used almost as a weapon, through methods such as “trolling” and “flooding”. Wu states that “In Who Controls the Internet, Jack Goldsmith and I argued that powerful states would attempt to reshape the network and its architecture to serve their interests” (Wu 557). This points to his belief that governments are attempting to use their power to bend and manipulate the First Amendment. Personally, I usually use the media to keep up with sports, and on occasion check the news via social media platforms and the television. I believe that especially with social media being as popular as it is today, we see trolling and flooding all the time in the United States. I think with sports journalists and reporters we can see trolling all the time on their Twitters. Sometimes they have something against, or simply aren’t a fan of a particular athlete, and will troll them spreading a certain message.

Flooding is particularly relevant right now, with the Coronavirus pandemic going on. It is hard to avoid any news at all about Covid-19, as it seems like every screen in the country is plastered with the latest news and updates, which is constantly changing. This flooding has caused a lot of panic and distress in the country that many say is unnecessary. In New York we have daily coronavirus briefings which are surrounded by even more talk about the virus, though some do believe this is helpful.

I believe that new legal frameworks should definitely be thought about when it comes to trolling and flooding. Although many times it can be harmless, in other scenarios we can see trolling and flooding spreading harmful infomation and even ruining someone’s reputation.

“During Coronavirus Briefing, Governor Cuomo Issues Executive Order Allowing State to Increase Hospital Capacity.” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, 19 Mar. 2020, http://www.governor.ny.gov/news/during-coronavirus-briefing-governor-cuomo-issues-executive-order-allowing-state-increase.

Heath, Jon. “Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith Probably Regret These Tweets Right about Now.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 8 Feb. 2016, broncoswire.usatoday.com/2016/02/08/skip-bayless-and-stephen-a-smith-probably-regret-these-tweets-right-about-now/.

Wu, Tim. “Is the First Amendment Obsolete?” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2017, doi:10.2139/ssrn.3096337.

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