Free Speech and Hate Speech

There’s been some stuff in the news lately about some of the web’s biggest platforms (Microsoft, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter) agreeing to do more to tackle hate speech online. Already on Twitter there is a trending hashtag: #Istandwithhatespeech.

The backlash to the Big Four’s move is two-fold. Some genuinely fear this is oppressing free speech and the right to be critical of other ideas – others are seemingly angry they won’t be able to say what they want with consequence anymore. If you search Twitter for that hashtag you’ll see exactly what I mean.

I’ve tended to run a reasonably loose ship when it comes to comments and moderation here. Anyone can submit a comment, and the chances are I’ll let it through (unless it’s really offensive). I do know that if someone trolls me and I block the comment, they’ll pop up on some other corner of the web, knowing they face no consequences to their actions. They cannot be held to account. This is annoying with the trolls – it is downright scary with those who are openly racist, sexist and bigoted.

Block them on Twitter or Facebook and they’ll simply start over with someone else. They abuse the privilege of free speech, making a mockery of it. This is why I am in favour of this new measure. It will hopefully force people to think before they post. If actions suddenly have consequences, they might stop to reflect upon them.


Warning: Missing argument 1 for cwppos_show_review(), called in /homepages/15/d474072471/htdocs/app522827563/wp-content/themes/flat/content-single.php on line 29 and defined in /homepages/15/d474072471/htdocs/app522827563/wp-content/plugins/wp-product-review/includes/legacy.php on line 18

6 comments

  1. This is so good!!! I wish I could WordPress it! Do you mind if I copy the link to my blog?? This needs to be so shared! So many people don’t get the difference between free speech, hate speech and the consequences of said free speech!

    1. By all means press it! I agree – freedom of speech also means we take responsibility for our words, as we would our actions. It’s a shame we need regulation to make it happen but so be it.

  2. I totally get where you’re coming from here. I think there’s a huge difference between limiting free speech and simply not wanting people to be cruel. People should be allowed to criticize in a respectful way but some comments are simply too rude, nasty, and unnecessary. I don’t think that not allowing these comments goes against free speech, I think it just shows that you want others to be respectful of others. It makes perfect sense to me. I think people who say otherwise are just upset that others don’t want them making rude comments. Great post!

    1. Thank you for your comment! I agree – this isn’t about silencing opposing voices (and as this measure depends upon people reporting posts and sites acting on them, it isn’t a blanket thing anyway), it’s about making sure we conduct ourselves as adults.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *