Over the last couple of days the leave campaign have been presenting their reasons for leaving the NUS, one of which is a claim that the NUS is going to ban YikYak. However, is this really the case?
Depending on which articles you find and which articles on the web you read, it is possible to draw slightly different conclusions. However, what is clear is that article titles such as the Huffington Post’s “NUS National Conference: Yik Yak To Be ‘Banned’ Under Safe Social Elections Policy” and the The Tab’s “The NUS Want to Ban YikYak” are misleading.
At the NUS Conference in April, the NUS discussed Motion 303, Safe Social Elections, submitted by the University of Surrey Students’ Union. The conference believes that “Students’ Unions across the country are putting more afford every year into their annual elections” as well as the fact the use of “social media is becoming more important in annual election for campaigning and challenging candidates”. However, whilst social media is becoming more and more important there are a growing number of “anonymous accounts are created online for the purpose of trolling or undermining election campaigns”. Whilst the NUS agreed that there was a growing issue from social media they also agreed that the “use of social media does more good than harm”.
At the NUS Conference, following the submission of Motion 303 the NUS Conference Resolve stated “The NUS [will] open a dialog with Facebook, Twitter, and YikYak to introduce restrictions on ‘anonymous’ or troll accounts during election periods’. Those in favour of the decision highlighted the difference between free speech and hate speech, something that this motion tries to limit specifically during election periods.
Whilst critics will call this motion the state to limiting free speech and some believing the NUS has become “censor happy”, the motion was not proposed to ban YikYak in it’s entirety, but to reduce the number of ‘troll’ accounts during election periods.
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