Potential Freedom of Speech Lawsuits for Facebook?

Facebook’s Online Civil Courage Initiative program will promote activists who counteract hate speech online. This program will take the approach that other institutions have adopted recently, counter-speech, which is based in arguments opposed to hate speech as censorship is nearly impossible in the Internet age. Having a more informed public instead of one that tries to block certain content would appear to be a net positive.

Despite these developments, Facebook continues to remove content and has even expanded it in certain areas. This can lead to many potential issues down the road. Continuing to remove content can lead to a chilling effect, which would not be good for freedom of speech or business. In some circumstances these changes could be useless as one could easily find the content somewhere else on the vast Internet. The removals have affected Europe, which tends to have stricter speech rights, but a big question is the effect it will have in America. Facebook could possibly find itself embroiled in prior restraint cases for example. It is an admirable effort to protect its users and give minorities more of a voice, but the line is not well defined and time will tell what complications, if any, will occur.

Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-plans-to-expand-program-to-fight-against-online-hate-speech-1474472665

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One thought on “Potential Freedom of Speech Lawsuits for Facebook?

  1. It seems that many social media sites have this policy: free speech is good, as long as it doesn’t offend anyone. This is not free speech. These are private companies, and it is their right to censor; however, it is hypocritical to claim to support free speech while stabbing it in the back. The Bill of Rights grants Americans the right to free speech, not the right to live in in a bubble where anything one deems as mean is banned. The internet is the world’s greatest free speech tool; it just seems like social media companies don’t feel the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

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