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Prompt:

As we discuss the social media companies and how they are currently making policies to reduce fake news and hate speech online, it becomes clear that there is a debate over whether their actions have been fair, what actions they should be taking, and whether it is their responsibility or right to take such actions in the first place. Since social media is one of the principal means by which people communicate in the modern world, many of these debates center on the constitutional right of free speech. For this assignment, using support from the three sources we read as well as further support and/or examples that you may find on your own, you must write an argumentative essay advocating a solution to this problem by supporting a specific policy or policies (or using a Rogerian approach to propose a compromise that would settle this debate). During the course of your essay, you may address questions such as how social media websites should be defined (as platforms or publishers) or whether their content moderation policies infringe on the right of free speech, but your central argument should focus on making a recommendation (perhaps you believe the government should regulate or monitor these companies’ content moderation practices more, or perhaps you believe it is solely the social media companies place to moderate content and you wish to defend their practices, or maybe you think it’s their place to moderate their own content but you find their content moderation practices insufficient or unfair and want to persuade them to change their practices, or maybe you can think of a compromise involving their continued independence in conjunction with some form of government oversight).

Details:

The sources I provided are “The New Governors,” “The Missing Regulatory State,” and Why the Government Should Not Regulate Content Moderation of Social Media.” You may use these sources for supporting quotations, as well as any other sources you find on your own, provided they are of high quality. Every body paragraph must introduce some concrete, cited support material from a source. You must cite at least three sources over the course of your essay, which must be a minimum of 1,200 words long and a maximum of 1,600 words (Works Cited pages are not traditionally included in word count).

Structure:

Introduction: Your hook or attention-getter might be an interesting statistic or fact from a source or an engaging but brief anecdote. Background on your topic may explain the debate or discuss why it is important now (kairos). Your thesis should clarify the policy or solution you advocate.

Body Paragraphs: Your body paragraphs will likely focus on reasons why you advocate the policy or solution in your thesis, or on separate, different policies you advocate as parts of your solution, each with their own reasoning and support. This is standard argumentation or persuasion structure. You may also choose to focus a paragraph on clarifying and refuting opposing views. Remember to use a topic sentence to clarify the focus of each paragraph and to draw on source support in each one. Sources should be clearly introduced before they are quoted or paraphrased.

Conclusion: You might review your main ideas and express again the policy or solution you advocate. You might end with a call to action, encouraging readers to do or think something in the future, or with a final thought that connects to your hook, bringing the essay full circle.

Should the govt regulate online platforms?
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