I feel like telling Mr. Zuckerberg he should ban all political commentary. After all, it’s still months until the election and the comments are getting really hateful
I pointed out that, while she might not like political commentary, lots of people LOVE mixing up about their favorite (or least favorite) political candidate. And, that’s the beauty of social networks. Everybody can talk about whatever they’re interested in and find like minded people to follow their posts — whether to agree with them or debate them.
The beauty of social networks is the freedom of speech. Anyone can say anything they want. Or, can they??????????
Freedom of speech versus hate speech
What happens when freedom of speech intersects hate speech? People get hurt — possibly with serious consequences. People kill themselves over depressions caused by feelings of persecution. They also may retaliate by hurting someone else.
But, what is hate speech? Let’s take a look at some definitions.
Dawn.com defines hate speech as:
Hate speech is communication that denigrates a particular person or a group on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or other characteristic. It can be in the form of any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display and usually marks incitement, violence or prejudice against an individual or a group.
And the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe defines hate speech as:
the term “hate speech” shall be understood as covering all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance
Does curbing hate speech infringe on freedom of speech?
Some think the difference between hate speech and freedom of speech is unclear. And, the response of social networks varies greatly. Facebook is accused of insensitivity to hate speech, especially when it comes to hate speech against women or anti-semitism. While Twitter is cracking down on hat speech.
Most countries where these social networks operate support efforts to curb hate speech, so social networks are within protections for free speech. Actually, stopping hate speech is a little harder because of the massive volume of posts on social networking sites. Twitter is using characteristics of users profile — such as no bio and few followers as initial indicators, but there are lots of ways around these simple tactics. So, while curbing hate speech gets universal support, it’s practicality is problematic.