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Free Speech Versus Hate Speech on Social Media

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Hate speech is merely critical, often demeaning, very critical, and offensive. Whenever hate speech becomes clear intimidation and threats against certain citizens, then some legal action needs to be taken. In addition, any form of malicious and persistent harassment that is focused on an individual is hate speech and should be prosecuted using the law. Individuals who send threatening messages using the internet to another individual or use public messages that are displayed on a certain website with information showing the intent of committing an act of violence needs prosecution (Pohjonen, 2017).

On the other hand, Free speech is not a right to speak anonymously. With social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have become key avenues for its odors to exercise their free speech rights. Some legislators and commentators have shown concern about the reputation and the digital public forums offered by these social media platforms. Alongside that, others have argued that these platforms have unfairly restricted and banned access to valuable speech. Violation of free speech is evident, especially when some site’s decisions create significant barriers (Davidson, 2017).

Hate speech versus free speech on social media can become controversial, especially when it becomes a real threat. The social media companies are aimed at creating safe environments for their users, but also they would want to keep upholding the value of speech. Very little seems to be done by social media companies to keep hate speech off such platforms (Mathew, 2019).

Moreover, the internet is revolutionizing means through which people can share their information and also communicate with one another. Providing such platforms for people to communicate has also paved a path for different kinds of speech. For instance, misogynists, racists, terrorists, and xenophobes have utilized the internet for communicating noxious opinions aimed at harassing other people. Other platforms have prompted the beating of lesbians and gays while some rally against Islam, and Christianity among other religions. Considering cyberbullying and terrorists who use the internet to recruit others, hate speech presents a great challenge (Brown, 2018).

Consequently, the battleground raises unique concerns about the future of hate speech and free speech. The Columbia Law Review has termed free speech as a triangle because it involves three kinds of people. The internet infrastructure companies, nation-states, and the variety of individual speakers (Guiora, 2017).

Subsequently, social media has turned into a platform where one can express their views irrespective of how abrasive or favorable they are. On the one hand, people are given the freedom to express their hatred towards a particular individual or a group of people; however, if the hatred is directed to a specific individual especially with violent terms, then it turns out to be a hate speech. This is because such a speech involves some threatening facts concerning a plan or an action (Olteanu, 2017).

Ultimately, social media platforms should be an avenue where free speech is protected and cherished, but if the speech goes too far, then a problem arises. At such a point, the government needs to step in, and it is obligated to protect its citizens against such odds (Schieb, 2016).

Consequently, regulating free and hate speech on social media has turned out to be futile and dangerous. A majority of people believe that companies should be regulated. Despite such claims, companies such as Google have some political biases that affect their operations of such companies. Whereas some computer programmers may create some algorithms that are discriminative in nature, ultimately the curation and collection of such social preferences will turn out to be adaptive algorithms linked to societal biases (ElSherief, 2018).

In this regard, the impact of hate speech versus free speech is significant. It calls for governments to lay down restrictions on social media and technology companies. Although these have come with controversies, especially those who do not have the regulations, argue that social media platforms are undermining their freedom of speech. Restrictions should be applied to both modern-day social media and traditional media because it will provide fair balance to both the radio and TV channels. This reduces the risk of violation of free speech, especially when the requirements on social media platforms are met (Gençoğlu Onbaşi, 2015).

According to, ethics in IT by George Reynolds, he presents a case by Finkel’s classmates. The extent to which students have all the rights to exercise the free speech through social media platforms and the restrictions put in place to curb the freedom were among the key questions the court had to answer. As a result, such unique arguments have attracted worldwide attention because of the consequences linked to the ruling of such cases. This would bring serious implications to both the persons in question and the social media sites (Mondal, 2017).

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Furthermore, most governments have reacted to the effects caused by both free speech and hate speech. In 2005, a student at Florida committed suicide after she was teased and online bullied at her school for three years. To its effect, in 2008, the state played down some tough laws that prohibited social exclusion, teasing, threatening, stalking, intimidation, religious harassment, public humiliation and racial harassment (Khiabany, 2015).

Next, there exists a close link between free speech and hate speech. Most countries have not provided protection against hate speech. For instance, the promotion of Nazi ideology is a great crime in Germany, and denying the happening of the Holocaust is not legal in most European countries. Hence the government authorities in Canada, Britain, Germany, and France have charged people over their crimes involving their free and hate speech on social media (Sultana, 2018).

Considering in America, speech that is merely demeaning, and annoying enjoys clear protection under their Amendment. Legal recourse can only take place whenever hate speech becomes a clear threat and starts to intimidate specific citizens (Alkiviadou, 2019).

Consequently, anonymous expression covers the opinions of people who don’t reveal their identity. Possessing free speech on social media without fear of reprisal has become important in any democratic society. Anonymity expression is very crucial in narions that do not permit free speech; however, with wrong people, it can be used to commit unethical and illegal activities (Silva, 2016).

Firstly, the major difference between free speech and hate speech is that free speech is majorly a concept that one cannot be legally prosecuted for. People can’t be stopped from saying things are racist in nature; things are prejudiced. Whereas for hate speech, it is not just an opinion or a view, it goes beyond that. It is characterized as words or views that could possibly cause an individual (Silva, 2016).

Clearly, an individual could speak to a fellow person telling them that they do not like them based on their ethnic background and cultural heritage. That is his/her right and therefore, cannot be arrested for speaking such words. However, if the individual goes ahead to threaten the fellow individual telling them that they would kill them because of their ethnic background and heritage, then it goes beyond a free speech. That becomes an actual threat that causes serious penalties (Sap, 2019).

Ideally, there is little difference between hate speech and free speech. Whenever language or a person’s ideas become too cynical and hurtful to other people, then free speech becomes hate speech. This ultimately breaks down a society rather than helping people grow and evolve. The differences between free speech and hate speech are distinct yet completely intertwined. The amendments protect only the individual when he/she uses a free speech, but when hate is used, then they are answerable (Tarn, 2019).

Most importantly, hate speech and free speech happen, almost everyone. Although the line between hate speech and free speech becomes fuzzy sometimes, it is important to create an awareness concerning the social standards in the respective environments regarding the kind of message that is disrespecting to others. Hate speech is often derived from larger societal issues facing people. It plays a major role in segregating individuals who appear to be different form each other (Ponterotto, 2017).

In addition, hate speech and free speech appears to be more influential o students at Campus than in other different environments. In particular, hate speech is seen to negatively influence the social progress of individuals, therefore, excluding the idea of a universe that accommodates all kinds of people. While students are figuring out and learning who they are and what they may want to become, the presence of demeaning and hateful speech can really hurt, confuse and stunt their education and self-growth (Flickinger, 2018).

In conclusion, freedom of speech is just one thing, but hate speech is yet another. Hate speech should be taken seriously by society but just dismissed as something that at its worst only hurts the feelings of certain individuals. With it comes the prediction of violence. More and more groups that are exposed to hate speech end up committing suicide. This can only be termed as a dehumanizing effect on the lives of individuals. Alongside that, there is also room for individuals to take part in free speech which should be done with moderation. Ultimately we need to celebrate one another but not tearing each other down (Brumpton, 2019).


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