Featured Profile: Brett Johnson
Dr. Brett Johnson studies the interplay of First Amendment law and social norms.
Johnson teaches undergraduates about mass communication law. Building on a foundation of First Amendment theory and study of important cases, he helps students understand essential media law topics such as data privacy and National Security Association surveillance programs.
As a researcher, Johnson studies society’s attitudes and values regarding freedom of expression. He investigates both legal theory related to free expression as well as the actual practice of ethical communication.
In particular, Johnson focuses on mainstream digital communication platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Such platforms are not government-run and are therefore not bound by First Amendment regulations. Johnson studies terms of service and the ways in which these platforms manage controversial or potentially harmful expression to tackle issues related to if, and how, controversial expressions are of value. He also examines how people’s willingness to ban or block online speech on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter differs from their behavior in everyday life.
Before arriving at the Missouri School of Journalism, Johnson served as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to Minas Gerais, Brazil, where he blogged about Brazilian culture and politics.
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