Freedom of Hate Speech?


As the Internet becomes the chief information intelligence in the 21 Century, many have debated how the Internet can be vicious and harmful at the time, for example, to our dignity.

How easily people can get hurt on the Internet? What a tricky question! People have different tolerances, don’t we. Recently, a PR Executive from IAC was fired due to her reckless and stupid tweet about her trip to South Africa.

No matter if the tweet was a sloppy joke that was not funny at the first place, the vast majority of media covered the story with criticism. IAC fired her even before her airplane landed in South Africa, good for this lightening-speed PR move. If the First Amendment granted people to express what they want, the Internet certainly amplified this privilege. Sacco’s trip to South Africa was to visit her family, which was not affiliated with IAC. If IAC fired Sacco based on her little silly tweet, where was her Freedom of Speech?

However, what the Freedom of Speech really prevents is the censorship. And the censorship is the act of restricting considerably harmful materials to be released. Sacco posted the tweet, people saw the tweet, and she apologized for the tweet. So there is not really much to say about the Freedom of Speech, which is the problem. Can people imagine how many other Saccos are out there tweeting silly jokes that might hurt people? And there are even Internet surfers intentionally publishing hateful speeches! The problems are really about cyber bullying and how a 10-word-comment can destroy a person, especially those who are vulnerable in nature but frequent Internet users, teenagers.

PIPA, SOPA, or whatever PA are not the final resorts, but really, what is the solution?

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