The first amendment



This is Joseph.

The first amendment is a very American idea and not one that is widely shared by other countries. It is a unique response to the repression of political speech at the time of the American Revolution and has resulted in an extremely open culture. You can sure have a modern democracy without it (see Canada) but it does have some advantages.

However, the consequences of free speech are, well, consequences. The freedom to speak is not the freedom to be without consequences. One place that this has really bit in is with pseudo-anonymous accounts, where the person shields themselves from the immediate consequences of their speech. This can be helpful -- the bold truth teller might lose access to inside information. But that has always come with the risk of being unmasked and facing consequences. Reality Winner, for example, was convicted of leaking information on Russian interference with the 2016 election, a matter of great public importance. 

More recently there has been controversy about a recent Washington Post article talking about the identity of a person who runs a major TikTok account:
The anonymous account’s impact is deep and far-reaching. Its content is amplified by high-profile media figures, politicians and right-wing influencers. Its tweets reach millions, with influence spreading far beyond its more than 648,000 Twitter followers. Libs of TikTok has become an agenda-setter in right-wing online discourse, and the content it surfaces shows a direct correlation with the recent push in legislation and rhetoric directly (Read more...)