SPEECH DEBATE: Queensland Liberal Senator Amanda Stoker says social media 'drags debate to the extremes' by pitting points of view against each other..
SPEECH DEBATE: Queensland Liberal Senator Amanda Stoker says social media 'drags debate to the extremes' by pitting points of view against each other..

FREE SPEECH THREAT: Social media 'feeding intolerance'

THE senator at the centre of a free speech crusade says social media is causing values-driven divides to deepen and shutting down sensible debate.

Speaking to the Chronicle while on the Fraser Coast to lead a freedom of speech forum at USC, barrister-turned LNP politician Amanda Stoker said extremists on both sides of sides of the debate had also been given a dangerous platform.

"Social media takes the things you've said and reflects back to you more of the same," Sen Stoker said

"It leads the user to believe everyone thinks like them and anyone who doesn't is strange.

"It feeds an intolerance... when someone who has been led to think this way is then suddenly confronted with (differing) points of view, they are more likely to react harshly and morally judgemental.

"This drags debate to the extremes."

Because the 'free speech' argument is often only used by these extremists, Sen Stoker said 'normal people' mistakenly believed they didn't need to concern themselves with whether their rights really were at risk.

"We shouldn't all become obnoxious... but we need to be able to exercise reasonable tolerance.

"You've got to remember that the people who opposed slavery and women's rights were wildly unpopular at the time.

"Engaging with ideas we find difficult or offensive is crucial.

"We need to open up a discussion about whether or not (free speech) is only needed by people who want to say the "wrong stuff" or whether we all need it... whether it's important to individual rights".



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