In today’s internet era it feels all too easy to get angry and upset over something offensive. It can be easy to find the rage machine in full swing and to get caught up in it all. Many platforms can concentrate that anger and it’s all in the name of “engagement”. Outrage gets more clicks and shares.
This blog post is a reflection on my thoughts about free speech, hate speech and how people become hateful.
Table of Contents
3 approaches to moderation
If we let all types of speech fly under the free speech banner, then what do we do about speech that enacts violence? On the internet I’ve seen three levels of moderation:
1) Reddit – let everything fly
If you want to see some dark nasty corner of the internet you will find just the right corner in some subreddit thread somewhere. 4Chan has a similar culture. Anything goes, no moderation here.
Remember #GamerGate? One part of of it was some people didn’t like Anita Sarkeesian’s video posts on Tropes vs Women in video games. Someone even created a beat up Anita game.
2) Twitter – let most things fly
If it enacts a sense of violence twitter will now tag the post with a warning:
Twitter has flagged and hidden a tweet by United States President Donald Trump, saying he violated Twitter’s rules about glorifying violence.https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/twitter-flags-hides-trump-tweet-glorified-violence-200529080054304.html
3) Facebook – post no evil
Facebook has a team of people and algorithms searching and blocking hate speech, e.g. commenting “Men are scum” will be removed.
you can’t attack a person or group of people based on a protected characteristic. A characteristic like race, religion or gender.https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/post-no-evil
Free speech isn’t a free pass
If I say something hateful, offensive or generally misguided, I should be held accountable for what I said. I want people to call out my offensive nature. There’s lots of things I don’t know or misunderstand. By calling me out you help me to improve my understanding.
We have to take responsibility of what we sayRowan Atkinson – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiqDZlAZygU
Comedians and cancel culture
Comedians have a reputation for being a bit offensive or a bit on the nose with their comedy. Comedy is criticism of society at large. Here are some Comedians calling out Cancel Culture:
How people are radicalized
I’m going to leave you with a video on how people become radicalized. It doesn’t matter if it’s veganism, transphobia, racism, sexism or general hatred. No one starts their life hating another group of people. We learn this behavior through the culture we absorb:
If you find yourself getting angry over something on the internet, please take some time to reflect and understand where that anger is coming from.