The Futility of Regulating Social Media Content in a Global Media Environment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Social media reaches more people on the planet than any prior form of media and transmits more information world-wide than ever before. It is an empowering factor in establishing and growing communities, but at the same time, creates havoc and disseminates pernicious and perhaps dangerous speech. And so it has been with the media from the beginning of time. Throughout the media’s history, efforts at regulation or control of media speech has been fraught with difficulty, ineffectiveness, discrimination, and failure. The use of technology can deceive the consumer of the information, and the social media companies as well. Both, government attempts at regulation and actions of private actors, the media themselves, have failed, and this paper demonstrates those repeated failures. The nature of speech, especially political speech, is such that even the definition of what is good and bad, right and wrong, is elusive. Because the speech belongs to each speaker and no prior effort to moderate it has worked, and because modern technology thwarts the possibility of accurate assessment or control, this paper establishes that attempts at social media content regulation are futile.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-110
Number of pages54
JournalNotre Dame Journal of Emerging Technologies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


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