The internet is an empowering and diversifying medium capable of uplifting marginalized voices. It has allowed more Americans to meaningfully participate in political dialogue and access more information and speech than ever before. It has enabled the average person to initiate and participate in movements for political and social change and to challenge power and authority. In the internet age, grassroots campaigns can reach people across the country cheaply, effectively, and almost instantly.
Many lawmakers and government officials have become increasingly skeptical of the internet’s power to accelerate change, and efforts to curb online speech freedom have become all-too-common. Such efforts are severely misguided. Online speech-chilling legislation and regulations at both the state and federal levels are unnecessary and ill-conceived restrictions on the First Amendment. The internet has been a boon to political speech and civic engagement. In order to preserve the internet’s democratic benefits, online speech freedom must be vigilantly protected.