2020-2021 Jennifer and Eric Spiegel Book Award Winner: Kerry Lyons

"Censorship in Social Media"

In the aftermath of the 2020 Presidential Election, the role of social media in American politics was center stage, as disinformation and allegations of censorship ran rampant. Social media was now seen in the eyes of some as a tool of “Big Tech” to clamp down on political dissenters. In this essay, Kerry Lyons critiques (and criticizes) these arguments made by conservative figures, and how the very environments that they claim have shut them down have helped them grow. In addition, he examines the role of social media companies in our public discourse through the lens of past court rulings and the Communications Decency Act of 1996. He also uses Jay Blumler’s Model of Political Communication to explain the evolution of media from shortly after the Second World War onward, and the advancement of Information and Communication Technologies, or “ICTs,” as explained by Aeron Davis.