Archive for the ‘Hate Speech’ Category

Why can’t the government ban hate speech? Inside the Supreme … – Salon

In the summer of 1990, several teenagers set fire to a crudely made cross on the lawn of an African-American family in St. Paul, Minnesota. One of those teenagers, known in court documents as R.A.V. because he was still a juvenile, was prosecuted under a local city ordinance that prohibited the abuse of symbols like the cross in ways known to arouse anger, alarm, or resentment on the basis of race.

R.A.V. appealed, arguing that the St. Paul ordinance, by banning his distasteful expressive conduct, violated the First Amendments promise of free speech. He lost in the Minnesota Supreme Court, which ruled that because the ordinance only prohibited so-called fighting words, a type of speech long considered unprotected by the First Amendment, it was not unconstitutional.

But the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed. There is an exception to the First Amendment for fighting words, but the St. Paul ordinance went too far, infringing speech that was simply distasteful and offensive, not immediately dangerous or directly threatening. Notably, even though the Court was unanimous that R.A.V. should not have been convicted, their reasoning varied greatly from justice to justice.

This episode explores why the Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the government has only very limited power to prohibit hate speech, and why such laws must be carefully crafted so as not to run afoul of the First Amendment.

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Heightened Scrutiny is a podcast about the landmark civil rights cases of the United States Supreme Court and is hosted and produced by Joe Dunman, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at Morehead State University and one of the attorneys who represented the Kentucky plaintiffs in the landmark marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges.

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Why can’t the government ban hate speech? Inside the Supreme … – Salon

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

What can be done about hate speech? – UC Berkeley (blog)

The tragic events in Charlottesville again raise the question of why expressions of hate should be tolerated and deemed protected by the First Amendment. Most European nations do not allow hate speech, such as the vile white supremacist, racist and anti-Semitic speech that occurred last week in Virginia.

Would we be better off as a society without such speech? And if not, what can be done about it, especially on college campuses? The events at the University of Virginia, or for that matterat Berkeley earlier this year,show that campuses are going to continue to be the place where speech issues so often arise.

Torch-carrying demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend. (Image from Unicorn Riot video)

As a matter of constitutional law, it is clear the First Amendment protects a right to express hate. Every effort by governments to prohibit or punish hate speech in the United States has been declared unconstitutional.

For example, the Supreme Court unanimously declared unconstitutional a St. Paul, Minn., ordinance that prohibited burning a cross or painting a swastika in a manner likely to anger, alarm or cause resentment. Likewise, the court struck down a Virginia law banning cross burning.

Over 300 colleges and universities enacted hate speech codes and every one to be challenged in court was declared unconstitutional. Indeed, because of their commitment to academic freedom, free speech has its greatest protection in colleges and universities.

Private entities and corporations have more leeway.Since Charlottesville, a number of private companies have sought to control the ability of hate groups to use their platforms and services to promote hateful ideas.

GoDaddy and Googlestopped providing hosting support to the neo-Nazi site, the Daily Stormer, saying the site had violated their terms of service.Uber Technologies Inc. banneda well-known white supremacist for allegedly harassing an African American driver.Airbnb cracked downon Charlottesville users suspected of hosting neo-Nazi gatherings, and theGoFundMe website, which prohibits hate speech, removed campaigns to crowdsource bail money for theOhio defendant accused of driving into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman.

Of course, the First Amendment applies only to the government, so private companies can restrict speech however they choose without running afoul of the Constitution. But when it comes to the public sector, the Supreme Court has been emphatic that the government never can stop speech on the ground that it is offensive, even very deeply offensive.

As recently as this past June,the Supreme Court unanimously declared: Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate.

Why? The core of the First Amendments protection of freedom of speech is that all ideas can be expressed. This is as it should be. Once the government can pick and choose among messages, there truly is no stopping point to censorship.

Hate speech expresses an idea, albeit one we wish did not exist. Moreover, experience in other countries and the United States shows that laws prohibiting hateful speech are often used against minorities, the very individuals that the laws seek to protect.

But this does not leave government or campus officials powerless. Free speech is not absolute. There is no First Amendment right to engage in speech that causes people to feel an imminent threat to their safety or that constitutes harassment.

Campus leaders, too, have freedom of speech and they must use it to denounce expressions of hate. A campus must tolerate offensive messages, but it need not and should not treat them as acceptable, and campus officials must condemn expressions of hate in the strongest terms. Campuses also must provide a forum for counterspeech, including counterprotests.

At the same time, campus officials have the duty to ensure public safety. This can take many forms.

Those participating in demonstrations can be prevented from carrying the bats and clubs that were visible in pictures in Charlottesville. There is a First Amendment right to speak, not to carry a weapon. No court ever has found a Second Amendment right to have a gun on campus.

If campus officials reasonably fear for safety, they can confine demonstrators to an area where the perimeter can be controlled. Counterprotestors can be located at a physically separate place to minimize the chances for violent confrontations. All of this is consistent with the basic First Amendment principle that there can be time, place and manner restrictions of speech.

In extreme cases, when it may be apparent that there is just no safe way for a rally or demonstration to occur, the campus can cancel it without offending the constitution or principles of academic freedom. This never can be done because of objections to the content of the message.

A claim of a threat to public safety never should be a pretext for silencing an unpopular speaker. But there are times when protecting people requires preventing or ending speech.

We live in a deeply polarized time. It seems that there is agreater willingness to express hatredthan at any time in recent memory.

It feels like a rock has been turned over and white supremacists, who largely were underground, now feel able to publicly express their awful message. The First Amendment is based on a faith that it is better to allow speech, even hate speech, than to suppress it.

Crossposted from the Sacramento Bee

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What can be done about hate speech? – UC Berkeley (blog)

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Google removes Gab app for violating hate speech policy – The Verge

Gab, the social network that has become popular among members of the alt-right, was removed from the Google Play Store this week for violating Googles hate speech policy.

The company announced the removal of its app in a tweet on Thursday, shortly after announcing it had raised $1 million in a crowdfunding campaign. The tweet also included a screenshot of an email from Google, which said that the Gab app was suspended and removed from the Google Play Store for violating its hate speech policy.

Gab describes itself as an ad-free social network for creators who believe in free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online. The site, which launched last year, has attracted many far-right users who have been banned on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Although the social network claims to be politically neutral, its green frog logo bears a clear resemblance to Pepe the Frog, a popular mascot of the alt-right; and its CEO, Andrew Torba, is a supporter of President Donald Trump who was removed from a Y Combinator alumni network last year for violating its harassment policy.

As VentureBeat notes, Gabs crowdfunding campaign appears to have gained momentum following this weeks violence in Charlottesville, which prompted several web services to sever ties with hate groups, as well as a sexist memo from a Google engineer that leaked earlier this month. Andrew Anglin, founder of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, recently began posting screenshots of articles to Gab after various web hosting and domain services cut the site off.

In a statement, Google said that social networking apps on the Play Store need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people and that this rule is clearly stated in its developer policies. It added that developers can appeal their apps suspension if they address the issue.

Torba has said previously that Gab is not going to police what is hate speech and what isnt, which itself sounds like a violation of Googles policies. Google also has a specific hate speech policy that forbids any apps that advocate against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Google has moved offensive apps in the past, including one that made a game of the Holocaust. Gabs app has never been approved for placement on Apples App Store.

Following the removal, Gab tweeted a link that it says would allow Android users to download its app without going through the Play Store.

Update August 18th, 2:21PM ET: This story has been updated with comment from Google.

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Tillerson denounces hate in State Department speech – CBS News – CBS News

U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson gives an opening statement during the ASEAN-U.S. Ministerial meeting of the 50th Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) in Manila, Philippines August 6, 2017.

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Secretary Rex Tillerson railed against hate and those who promote bigotry as he delivered an impassioned speech at the State Department on Friday. He also committed to reinvigorating State’s efforts to seek out diverse talent in an effort to strengthen the department in line with America’s founding principles.

“It’s simply important to say, although I think it’s well-understood and embraced, I’m certain, by everyone in this room, we all know hate is not an American value. Nowhere is it an American value,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson was speaking to a group of State Department interns and fellows, including those from special minority recruiting programs. He said that everyone in the room must be thinking about race relations and diversity in the wake of the violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville.

“We do not honor nor do we promote or accept hate speech in any form and those who embrace it poison our public discourse and damage the very country that they proclaim to love,” Tillerson said. “Racism is evil. It is antithetical to America’s values, it is antithetical to the American idea.”

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Tillerson quoted Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address calling on Americans to “bind up” the country’s wounds. He struck an assertive yet conciliatory tone.

The secretary’s words were in sharp contrast to President Trump’s. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump blamed “both sides” — the violent white supremacists and the counter-protestors — for the violence in Charlottesville. Mr. Trump also said there were “fine people” present at the rally, while Tillerson said that hate speech poisons public discourse, damages the country and is unacceptable in any form.

“We must pursue reconciliation, understanding and respect regardless of skin color, ethnicity or religious or political views,” Tillerson said. “One of America’s defining characteristics is the promise of opportunity for advancement regardless of your skin color, how much money your parents make or where you came from.”

Citing a diversity gap at the State Department, Tillerson committed to redoubling efforts to solve the problem at all levels. For all open ambassadorships, Tillerson said he will require at least one candidate to be a diversity candidate. He also wants to seek out talent “not just from the Ivy League” and that the department also needs to reach out to high school students in Texas, Michigan and Georgia.

The department is undergoing a major restructuring under Tillerson and he promised the young, potential State Department employees that the hiring freeze there is temporary. Tillerson claimed that only about 12 percent of senior foreign service officers are non-white, and in addition to reaching out to African Americans, he said that the department can do more to draw in Hispanics. Tillerson said he has seen just how important diversity is in bringing differing perspectives to the table that he would otherwise be unaware of.

“So whether it is African American, Latino, Hispanic, women, LGBT come with experiences I do not know. This enriches the quality if our work,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson, who recently teared up as he spoke about how grateful he is for his wife, also pressed the importance of cherishing and maintaining personal integrity.

“You are born with a clean slate of personal integrity. No one can take it from you, only you can relinquish it,” he said. Once it is given up — by cheating the system for personal gain “it is very, very difficult to regain it.”

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Outside View: Hate speech abhorrent; banning it worse | The … – The Spokesman-Review

The following editorial is from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Last weekends events in Charlottesville, along with the threat of future protests by white supremacist groups, have sparked a national debate about placing legal limits on hate speech. The thinking is that some views are so abhorrent that they should be banned, and their advocates should not be allowed to assemble in public.

As long as its still legal to do so, wed like to declare our abhorrence at the suggestion.

The rights of free speech and free assembly are bedrock principles of American democracy and major reasons why Americas founders revolted against British rule. There was a time when speaking against the British monarchy was deemed treasonous and subject to prison or even death. Even today, its technically illegal to call for abolition of the monarchy.

In the United States, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups are attempting a resurgence, bolstered in no small part by the sympathetic undertone of remarks issued on the campaign trail and in the White House by President Donald Trump. As repugnant as those groups are, its even more abhorrent to contemplate trashing the First Amendment to stifle their free speech.

Ahead of Trumps inauguration, extreme left-wing groups began using the slogan Punch a Nazi as they advocated violent intervention to halt demonstrations by far-right groups. One self-declared anti-fascist punched white supremacist Richard Spencer, a Trump supporter, in the face on Inauguration Day while he was being interviewed on a Washington, D.C., street. It was not OK then, nor will it ever be.

Daryle Lamont Jenkins, a member of the anti-fascist movement, told National Public Radio on Thursday that violent confrontation is justifiable when police wont stop white supremacists from marching. In other words, he believes in illegal vigilante action when police refuse to violate marchers constitutional rights.

Imagine how quickly our country would descend into anarchy if vigilante action ever did become justifiable. The minute it becomes acceptable to break the law to silence one group, all others become vulnerable to attack by anyone who disagrees with them.

Thats why the Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down government attempts to ban hate speech.

A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the governments benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society, wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in one assenting opinion this year.

Companies such as Twitter and Facebook have a legal right to limit how customers use their sites. The government doesnt. The moment Americans empower the government to tell them what they can and cannot say, our nation and its cherished democratic principles will be doomed.

Published Aug. 19, 2017, midnight in: Charlottesville, First Amendment, free speech, hate speech, Ku Klux Klan, march, Neo-Nazis

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Outside View: Hate speech abhorrent; banning it worse | The … – The Spokesman-Review

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Neo-Nazis can still rally because there is no law against ‘hate speech’ – USA TODAY

A member of the Ku Klux Klan shouts at counter protesters during a rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Va., on July 8, 2017.(Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, AFP/Getty Images)

As the country prepares for what arelikely to be a series of tense standoffs over Confederate monuments, it is worth remembering that “hate speech” is not against the law.

“Hate speech is not a recognized category under American law,” University of Virginia law professor Leslie Kendrick told USA TODAY’s Cup of Politics podcast. That means local officials cannot ban neo-Nazis or white supremacists from rallying just because their speech is offensive.

Kendrick said the laws that are relevant and that ultimately allowed Charlottesville, Va., police to shut down the Aug. 12 rally there that ended in the tragic death of Heather Heyer are focused on “incitement” to violence. But those laws don’t apply in advance; you can’t be stopped from speaking because you are expected to incite violence.

Listen to the whole episode here.

More: From cross burning to funeral protests, hate speech enjoys broad protection

More: America’s ‘Confederate infrastructure:’ Too big to hide, move or raze

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Neo-Nazis can still rally because there is no law against ‘hate speech’ – USA TODAY

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Free or hate speech? Silicon Valley searches for proper line – CBS News

The internet was built on the premise of allowing people to engage in free speech and exchange ideas, even dangerous ones.

That ethos now faces a stern test following the violence and terror attack in Charlottesville, creating a host of ethical questions for businesses including Facebook, PayPal and Spotify. Many are deciding to ban white supremacist and neo-Nazi users from sending money, posting comments and listening to “white power” music.

While those decisions are applauded by many, others are questioning whether tech companies are going too far by deciding what music their customers can listen to or what comments are acceptable. The dilemma was spelled out by Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, who wrote in a blog post about how he decided to cancel the account of the Daily Stormer. The issue came to a head for Cloudflare, an internet security company, when the neo-Nazi publication claimed “we were secretly supporters of their ideology,” he noted.

That was a “tipping point” for his company, Prince noted.

“Someone on our team asked after I announced we were going to terminate the Daily Stormer: ‘Is this the day the Internet dies?'” he wrote. “He was half joking, but only half. He’s no fan of the Daily Stormer or sites like it. But he does realize the risks of a company like Cloudflare getting into content policing.”

During the past decade, American businesses have increasingly espoused ideals such as diversity and inclusivity. The Charlottesville attack is pushing employees and customers to ask those corporations whether they are going to live up to their slogans and corporate policies, said Brian Kropp, HR practice leader at consulting firm Gartner.

“You don’t know what the values of your company are until they are tested, and now they are being tested,” he said. “Whatever you say you stand for in an organization, you have to stand up for it when the moment comes. If you do that, odds are things will work out.”

PayPal (PYPL) cut off business with more than three dozen hate groups and other extremist organizations following the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Among those are Altright.com, a white nationalist group led by Richard Spencer.

“Regardless of the individual or organization in question, we work to ensure that our services are not used to accept payments or donations for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance,” PayPal said in a statement.

Facebook (FB) banned the Facebook and Instagram accounts of a white nationalist who attended the Charlottesville rally. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post, “Debate is part of a healthy society. But when someone tries to silence others or attacks them based on who they are or what they believe, that hurts us all and is unacceptable.”

At the same time, some customers are pushing back, asking in social media posts whether the organizations will hold other groups to the same standards. Others are expressing concern that it might backfire.

“I think this leads to more Nazis,” one user wrote in response to Cloudflare’s decision. “Instead of laughing at them, they feel persecuted and silenced. Which reinforces their beliefs.”

While some users claim their free speech is being violated, private companies have the right to set their terms of service, just as they have the right to discipline employees for code of conduct violations. The latter was an issue that arose when Google fired engineer James Damore after he published a manifesto that argued the gender gap in technology is due to biological factors, such as women’s higher “neuroticism” than men.

“People confuse the fact that the government is not allowed to restrict free speech, but private companies are,” said Michael Niborski, a partner at law firm Pryor Cashman who specializes in free speech issues. “It’s a cost-benefit analysis by the company: Are we going to lose customers? Are we going to get bad publicity because we are giving them a platform or a website and allowing them to display their music?”

He added, “One thing that makes this particularly unique is you are talking about one of the most vilified, negative groups in history, and so companies feel protected in taking their music down.”

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In essence, Silicon Valley is confronting the “paradox of tolerance,” the idea outlined by philosopher Karl Popper that a tolerant society must be intolerant of intolerance. Otherwise, the intolerant will have the freedom to destroy tolerance.

Employees increasingly are important constituents in businesses’ decisions to stand up against bigotry and white supremacy, Gartner’s Kropp said. A generation ago, workers didn’t identity as much with their employers’ values, but employees now see their workplaces as extensions of their own core beliefs.

“If you are banning some of these things, it’s a fairly small minority of people who are fairly outraged about it,” he said. But without speaking out against intolerance, “especially in the tech space where it’s super competitive, you run a huge risk of losing a chunk of your employee base to the competition.”

But banning white supremacists can be good for business, even if some customers question corporate control over free speech.

For instance, dating site OKCupid banned white supremacist Chris Cantwell for life, 10 minutes after they received the alert he had a profile on their site. Customers praised the decision, with one women writing, “Single women all over the world thank you!!!”

“There is no room for hate in a place where you’re looking for love,” OKCupid said on Twitter.

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Free or hate speech? Silicon Valley searches for proper line – CBS News

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Free Speech or Hate Speech? Civil Liberties Body ACLU Will No Longer Defend Gun-Carrying Protest Groups – Newsweek

Since its founding during a period of anti-communist paranoia in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has served as a reliable line of defense for those who find their constitutional freedoms under threat.

Sometimes, that means fighting for liberal causes: ACLU lawyers were involved in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the two U.S. Supreme Court victories that underpinned womens right to abortionin modern America.And the ACLU was the only major U.S. organization to speak out against the internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

But sometimes, the group has decided to defend people who its liberal supporters find less palatable. In a 1934 pamphlet, entitled “Shall We Defend Free Speech for Nazis in America?” the group defended its choice to stand up for German-American Nazis who wanted to hold meetings in the U.S. Is it not clear that free speech as a practical tactic, not only as an abstract principle, demands the defense of all who are attacked in order to obtain the rights of any? its justification read.

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In modern America, the ACLU finds itself in a similar bind. With far-right groups like neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan more visible, and white nationalists grouping under the self-defined banner of the “alt-right,”it must decide whether it will defend the rights of such groups to demonstrate and spread their often hateful views.

While the ACLU does still advocate for such groups, it is now laying out some strict boundaries about what it is willing to stand up for. Prior tothe Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville,Virginia, the ACLU actedin support of the organizers, who were originally denied a permit to gather. However, that gathering resulted in violent clashesand the death of a woman when a man drove his car into a group of anti-fascist counterprotesters.

On Thursday, the ACLU made a statement specifying that it would not defend groups that wanted to incite violence or march armed to the teeth, the Los Angeles Times reported.

We review each request for help on a case-by-case basis, but take the clear position that the 1st Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence, the statement, from three California ACLU affiliates, said.

If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution, the statement continued. The 1st Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence.

Waldo Jaquith, a former member of the ACLU Virginia board, had already resigned over the groups decision to defend far-right activists. I just resigned from the ACLU of Virginia board, he wrote on Twitter. Whats legal and whats right are sometimes different. I wont be a fig leaf for Nazis.

As the organizations ranks have swelledin many cases with people opposed to the policies of U.S. President Donald Trumpand left-wing views on zero-tolerance anti-fascist tactics gain a greater hearing, this is likely to be just the start of a long wrestle within the ACLU on the boundaries between defending free speech and endangering more vulnerable groups.

Members of the Charlottesville community hold a vigil for Heather Heyer, who died protesting the rally, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 16. The Cavalier Daily/Handout/Reuters

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Free Speech or Hate Speech? Civil Liberties Body ACLU Will No Longer Defend Gun-Carrying Protest Groups – Newsweek

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Tech companies can distinguish between free speech and hate speech if they want to – Phys.Org

August 18, 2017 by David Glance, The Conversation Freedom or Hate Speech? Credit: wk1003mike/shutterstock

In the wake of violence in the US town of Charlottesville, the tech industry has started removing access to some of their services from groups associated with the far-right and those espousing racial intolerance.

Apple has disabled Apple Pay from sites selling clothing, stickers and other merchandise with Nazi logos and other white supremacist slogans. GoDaddy and Google removed support for the “Daily Stormer”, a far-right website. Other companies like Uber, Facebook, Twitter, MailChimp and WordPress have all taken varying degrees of action

The battle between protection and censorship

The moves by the tech companies, whilst generally welcomed given the events of Charlottesville including the tragic death of Heather Heyer, are still provoking the ongoing debate of the tension between regulating hate speech and preserving, for American’s at least, the sanctity of freedom of speech.

Groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who support the actions against neo-Nazi groups, at the same time express concern for free speech and upholding the First Amendment of the US Constitution that enshrines that right. The EFF is concerned that these platforms will not exercise these rights properly and other groups and voices will be silenced, wrongly, in the same way.

Facebook has come under recent criticism for censoring LGBTQ people’s posts because they contained words that Facebook deem offensive. At the same time, the LGBTQ community are one of the groups frequently targetted with hate speech on the platform.

If users seem to “want their cake and eat it too”, the tech companies are similarly conflicted.

In Facebook’s community standards, it says it will remove posts it deems to be hate speech.

At the same time however, Facebook has fought strongly against a German law that will see it, and other social media platforms, fined up to Euro 50 million if they fail to remove hate speech and other illegal content from their site within days of being notified.

In its fight against the law, Facebook claimed it could not technologically filter and deal with the sheer volume of images and content posted on its platform. It further claimed that dealing with hate speech on its platform was not its responsibility but that of the “public and state”.

It would be easy to think that the tech companies simply wanted to be seen to be doing something about hate speech whilst at the same time, limiting their responsibility to deal with the problem systematically.

A difficult problem

On the surface, it may seem to be a significant challenge to allow free speech whilst stopping hate speech that targets people based on their race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, gender, or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases.

In Germany, Facebook argued that it would need to hire thousands of lawyers to review posts that were brought to its attention. At the same time however, Facebook markets its platform to advertisers exlicitly on the basis that it is able to provide detailed personal information based on what its 2 billion monthly users post and read. Facebook often talks about its advances in machine learning and text and image recognition that are certainly capable of at least highlighting problematic posts for human review or identifying copies of images that it has already deemed problematic.

Distinguishing freedom of speech from hate speech

The right of freedom of speech is not unique to the United States. This right is also enshrined in Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At the same time, the laws of many countries like Germany, and other international conventions, explicitly limit these freedoms when it comes to hate speech. The illegality of hate speech is made explicit in Article 13(5) of American Convention of Human Rights and the UN’s International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.

National and international courts have already dealt with numerous cases that have led to determinations of the differences between freedom of speech and hate speech.

It would not be impossible for tech companies to form clear guidelines within their own platforms about what was and wasn’t permissable. For the mainly US companies, this would mean that they would have to be increasingly aware of the differences between US law and culture and those of other countries.

Will their actions continue?

It is always unfortunate that it takes the loss of human life to spur the tech companies into behaviour that should have been their default. It remains to be seen how long this activity will persist before they revert back to claiming that ultimately it is not their problem.

Explore further: Facebook now deleting 66K posts a week in anti-hate campaign

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Facebook said Tuesday that it deleted about 66,000 posts a week in the last two months as the social media giant cracks down on what it deems to be hate speech.

Facebook, Google and other US internet giants have sharply boosted efforts to clamp down on online hate speech, a top European Union official said Thursday.

It took bloodshed in Charlottesville to get tech companies to do what civil rights groups have been calling for for years: take a firmer stand against accounts used to promote hate and violence.

Internet giants Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube are not doing enough to fight online hate speech despite “moving in the right direction”, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

An artist tired of seeing hateful tweets ignored by Twitter has managed to get the social network to remove or hide some of themby spray-painting the offending posts in front of the company’s German headquarters.

Facebook and Twitter have months to improve their response to online hate speech in Germany or face legal measures, the country’s justice minister said Tuesday.

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Why can’t the government ban hate speech? Inside the Supreme … – Salon

In the summer of 1990, several teenagers set fire to a crudely made cross on the lawn of an African-American family in St. Paul, Minnesota. One of those teenagers, known in court documents as R.A.V. because he was still a juvenile, was prosecuted under a local city ordinance that prohibited the abuse of symbols like the cross in ways known to arouse anger, alarm, or resentment on the basis of race. R.A.V. appealed, arguing that the St. Paul ordinance, by banning his distasteful expressive conduct, violated the First Amendments promise of free speech. He lost in the Minnesota Supreme Court, which ruled that because the ordinance only prohibited so-called fighting words, a type of speech long considered unprotected by the First Amendment, it was not unconstitutional. But the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed. There is an exception to the First Amendment for fighting words, but the St. Paul ordinance went too far, infringing speech that was simply distasteful and offensive, not immediately dangerous or directly threatening. Notably, even though the Court was unanimous that R.A.V. should not have been convicted, their reasoning varied greatly from justice to justice. This episode explores why the Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the government has only very limited power to prohibit hate speech, and why such laws must be carefully crafted so as not to run afoul of the First Amendment. LISTEN: Heightened Scrutiny is a podcast about the landmark civil rights cases of the United States Supreme Court and is hosted and produced by Joe Dunman, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at Morehead State University and one of the attorneys who represented the Kentucky plaintiffs in the landmark marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges.

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

What can be done about hate speech? – UC Berkeley (blog)

The tragic events in Charlottesville again raise the question of why expressions of hate should be tolerated and deemed protected by the First Amendment. Most European nations do not allow hate speech, such as the vile white supremacist, racist and anti-Semitic speech that occurred last week in Virginia. Would we be better off as a society without such speech? And if not, what can be done about it, especially on college campuses? The events at the University of Virginia, or for that matterat Berkeley earlier this year,show that campuses are going to continue to be the place where speech issues so often arise. Torch-carrying demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend. (Image from Unicorn Riot video) As a matter of constitutional law, it is clear the First Amendment protects a right to express hate. Every effort by governments to prohibit or punish hate speech in the United States has been declared unconstitutional. For example, the Supreme Court unanimously declared unconstitutional a St. Paul, Minn., ordinance that prohibited burning a cross or painting a swastika in a manner likely to anger, alarm or cause resentment. Likewise, the court struck down a Virginia law banning cross burning. Over 300 colleges and universities enacted hate speech codes and every one to be challenged in court was declared unconstitutional. Indeed, because of their commitment to academic freedom, free speech has its greatest protection in colleges and universities. Private entities and corporations have more leeway.Since Charlottesville, a number of private companies have sought to control the ability of hate groups to use their platforms and services to promote hateful ideas. GoDaddy and Googlestopped providing hosting support to the neo-Nazi site, the Daily Stormer, saying the site had violated their terms of service.Uber Technologies Inc. banneda well-known white supremacist for allegedly harassing an African American driver.Airbnb cracked downon Charlottesville users suspected of hosting neo-Nazi gatherings, and theGoFundMe website, which prohibits hate speech, removed campaigns to crowdsource bail money for theOhio defendant accused of driving into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman. Of course, the First Amendment applies only to the government, so private companies can restrict speech however they choose without running afoul of the Constitution. But when it comes to the public sector, the Supreme Court has been emphatic that the government never can stop speech on the ground that it is offensive, even very deeply offensive. As recently as this past June,the Supreme Court unanimously declared: Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate. Why? The core of the First Amendments protection of freedom of speech is that all ideas can be expressed. This is as it should be. Once the government can pick and choose among messages, there truly is no stopping point to censorship. Hate speech expresses an idea, albeit one we wish did not exist. Moreover, experience in other countries and the United States shows that laws prohibiting hateful speech are often used against minorities, the very individuals that the laws seek to protect. But this does not leave government or campus officials powerless. Free speech is not absolute. There is no First Amendment right to engage in speech that causes people to feel an imminent threat to their safety or that constitutes harassment. Campus leaders, too, have freedom of speech and they must use it to denounce expressions of hate. A campus must tolerate offensive messages, but it need not and should not treat them as acceptable, and campus officials must condemn expressions of hate in the strongest terms. Campuses also must provide a forum for counterspeech, including counterprotests. At the same time, campus officials have the duty to ensure public safety. This can take many forms. Those participating in demonstrations can be prevented from carrying the bats and clubs that were visible in pictures in Charlottesville. There is a First Amendment right to speak, not to carry a weapon. No court ever has found a Second Amendment right to have a gun on campus. If campus officials reasonably fear for safety, they can confine demonstrators to an area where the perimeter can be controlled. Counterprotestors can be located at a physically separate place to minimize the chances for violent confrontations. All of this is consistent with the basic First Amendment principle that there can be time, place and manner restrictions of speech. In extreme cases, when it may be apparent that there is just no safe way for a rally or demonstration to occur, the campus can cancel it without offending the constitution or principles of academic freedom. This never can be done because of objections to the content of the message. A claim of a threat to public safety never should be a pretext for silencing an unpopular speaker. But there are times when protecting people requires preventing or ending speech. We live in a deeply polarized time. It seems that there is agreater willingness to express hatredthan at any time in recent memory. It feels like a rock has been turned over and white supremacists, who largely were underground, now feel able to publicly express their awful message. The First Amendment is based on a faith that it is better to allow speech, even hate speech, than to suppress it. Crossposted from the Sacramento Bee

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August 19, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

Google removes Gab app for violating hate speech policy – The Verge

Gab, the social network that has become popular among members of the alt-right, was removed from the Google Play Store this week for violating Googles hate speech policy. The company announced the removal of its app in a tweet on Thursday, shortly after announcing it had raised $1 million in a crowdfunding campaign. The tweet also included a screenshot of an email from Google, which said that the Gab app was suspended and removed from the Google Play Store for violating its hate speech policy. Gab describes itself as an ad-free social network for creators who believe in free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online. The site, which launched last year, has attracted many far-right users who have been banned on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Although the social network claims to be politically neutral, its green frog logo bears a clear resemblance to Pepe the Frog, a popular mascot of the alt-right; and its CEO, Andrew Torba, is a supporter of President Donald Trump who was removed from a Y Combinator alumni network last year for violating its harassment policy. As VentureBeat notes, Gabs crowdfunding campaign appears to have gained momentum following this weeks violence in Charlottesville, which prompted several web services to sever ties with hate groups, as well as a sexist memo from a Google engineer that leaked earlier this month. Andrew Anglin, founder of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, recently began posting screenshots of articles to Gab after various web hosting and domain services cut the site off. In a statement, Google said that social networking apps on the Play Store need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people and that this rule is clearly stated in its developer policies. It added that developers can appeal their apps suspension if they address the issue. Torba has said previously that Gab is not going to police what is hate speech and what isnt, which itself sounds like a violation of Googles policies. Google also has a specific hate speech policy that forbids any apps that advocate against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Google has moved offensive apps in the past, including one that made a game of the Holocaust. Gabs app has never been approved for placement on Apples App Store. Following the removal, Gab tweeted a link that it says would allow Android users to download its app without going through the Play Store. Update August 18th, 2:21PM ET: This story has been updated with comment from Google.

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Tillerson denounces hate in State Department speech – CBS News – CBS News

U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson gives an opening statement during the ASEAN-U.S. Ministerial meeting of the 50th Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) in Manila, Philippines August 6, 2017. Erik De Castro Secretary Rex Tillerson railed against hate and those who promote bigotry as he delivered an impassioned speech at the State Department on Friday. He also committed to reinvigorating State’s efforts to seek out diverse talent in an effort to strengthen the department in line with America’s founding principles. “It’s simply important to say, although I think it’s well-understood and embraced, I’m certain, by everyone in this room, we all know hate is not an American value. Nowhere is it an American value,” Tillerson said. Tillerson was speaking to a group of State Department interns and fellows, including those from special minority recruiting programs. He said that everyone in the room must be thinking about race relations and diversity in the wake of the violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville. “We do not honor nor do we promote or accept hate speech in any form and those who embrace it poison our public discourse and damage the very country that they proclaim to love,” Tillerson said. “Racism is evil. It is antithetical to America’s values, it is antithetical to the American idea.” Play Video John Dickerson, CBS News chief Washington correspondent and anchor of “Face The Nation,” joins CBSN to discuss the important historical distincti… Tillerson quoted Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address calling on Americans to “bind up” the country’s wounds. He struck an assertive yet conciliatory tone. The secretary’s words were in sharp contrast to President Trump’s. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump blamed “both sides” — the violent white supremacists and the counter-protestors — for the violence in Charlottesville. Mr. Trump also said there were “fine people” present at the rally, while Tillerson said that hate speech poisons public discourse, damages the country and is unacceptable in any form. “We must pursue reconciliation, understanding and respect regardless of skin color, ethnicity or religious or political views,” Tillerson said. “One of America’s defining characteristics is the promise of opportunity for advancement regardless of your skin color, how much money your parents make or where you came from.” Citing a diversity gap at the State Department, Tillerson committed to redoubling efforts to solve the problem at all levels. For all open ambassadorships, Tillerson said he will require at least one candidate to be a diversity candidate. He also wants to seek out talent “not just from the Ivy League” and that the department also needs to reach out to high school students in Texas, Michigan and Georgia. The department is undergoing a major restructuring under Tillerson and he promised the young, potential State Department employees that the hiring freeze there is temporary. Tillerson claimed that only about 12 percent of senior foreign service officers are non-white, and in addition to reaching out to African Americans, he said that the department can do more to draw in Hispanics. Tillerson said he has seen just how important diversity is in bringing differing perspectives to the table that he would otherwise be unaware of. “So whether it is African American, Latino, Hispanic, women, LGBT come with experiences I do not know. This enriches the quality if our work,” Tillerson said. Tillerson, who recently teared up as he spoke about how grateful he is for his wife, also pressed the importance of cherishing and maintaining personal integrity. “You are born with a clean slate of personal integrity. No one can take it from you, only you can relinquish it,” he said. Once it is given up — by cheating the system for personal gain “it is very, very difficult to regain it.” 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Outside View: Hate speech abhorrent; banning it worse | The … – The Spokesman-Review

The following editorial is from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Last weekends events in Charlottesville, along with the threat of future protests by white supremacist groups, have sparked a national debate about placing legal limits on hate speech. The thinking is that some views are so abhorrent that they should be banned, and their advocates should not be allowed to assemble in public. As long as its still legal to do so, wed like to declare our abhorrence at the suggestion. The rights of free speech and free assembly are bedrock principles of American democracy and major reasons why Americas founders revolted against British rule. There was a time when speaking against the British monarchy was deemed treasonous and subject to prison or even death. Even today, its technically illegal to call for abolition of the monarchy. In the United States, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups are attempting a resurgence, bolstered in no small part by the sympathetic undertone of remarks issued on the campaign trail and in the White House by President Donald Trump. As repugnant as those groups are, its even more abhorrent to contemplate trashing the First Amendment to stifle their free speech. Ahead of Trumps inauguration, extreme left-wing groups began using the slogan Punch a Nazi as they advocated violent intervention to halt demonstrations by far-right groups. One self-declared anti-fascist punched white supremacist Richard Spencer, a Trump supporter, in the face on Inauguration Day while he was being interviewed on a Washington, D.C., street. It was not OK then, nor will it ever be. Daryle Lamont Jenkins, a member of the anti-fascist movement, told National Public Radio on Thursday that violent confrontation is justifiable when police wont stop white supremacists from marching. In other words, he believes in illegal vigilante action when police refuse to violate marchers constitutional rights. Imagine how quickly our country would descend into anarchy if vigilante action ever did become justifiable. The minute it becomes acceptable to break the law to silence one group, all others become vulnerable to attack by anyone who disagrees with them. Thats why the Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down government attempts to ban hate speech. A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the governments benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society, wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in one assenting opinion this year. Companies such as Twitter and Facebook have a legal right to limit how customers use their sites. The government doesnt. The moment Americans empower the government to tell them what they can and cannot say, our nation and its cherished democratic principles will be doomed. Published Aug. 19, 2017, midnight in: Charlottesville, First Amendment, free speech, hate speech, Ku Klux Klan, march, Neo-Nazis

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Neo-Nazis can still rally because there is no law against ‘hate speech’ – USA TODAY

A member of the Ku Klux Klan shouts at counter protesters during a rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Va., on July 8, 2017.(Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, AFP/Getty Images) As the country prepares for what arelikely to be a series of tense standoffs over Confederate monuments, it is worth remembering that “hate speech” is not against the law. “Hate speech is not a recognized category under American law,” University of Virginia law professor Leslie Kendrick told USA TODAY’s Cup of Politics podcast. That means local officials cannot ban neo-Nazis or white supremacists from rallying just because their speech is offensive. Kendrick said the laws that are relevant and that ultimately allowed Charlottesville, Va., police to shut down the Aug. 12 rally there that ended in the tragic death of Heather Heyer are focused on “incitement” to violence. But those laws don’t apply in advance; you can’t be stopped from speaking because you are expected to incite violence. Listen to the whole episode here. More: From cross burning to funeral protests, hate speech enjoys broad protection More: America’s ‘Confederate infrastructure:’ Too big to hide, move or raze Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2xaPI57

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August 18, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

Free or hate speech? Silicon Valley searches for proper line – CBS News

The internet was built on the premise of allowing people to engage in free speech and exchange ideas, even dangerous ones. That ethos now faces a stern test following the violence and terror attack in Charlottesville, creating a host of ethical questions for businesses including Facebook, PayPal and Spotify. Many are deciding to ban white supremacist and neo-Nazi users from sending money, posting comments and listening to “white power” music. While those decisions are applauded by many, others are questioning whether tech companies are going too far by deciding what music their customers can listen to or what comments are acceptable. The dilemma was spelled out by Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, who wrote in a blog post about how he decided to cancel the account of the Daily Stormer. The issue came to a head for Cloudflare, an internet security company, when the neo-Nazi publication claimed “we were secretly supporters of their ideology,” he noted. That was a “tipping point” for his company, Prince noted. “Someone on our team asked after I announced we were going to terminate the Daily Stormer: ‘Is this the day the Internet dies?'” he wrote. “He was half joking, but only half. He’s no fan of the Daily Stormer or sites like it. But he does realize the risks of a company like Cloudflare getting into content policing.” During the past decade, American businesses have increasingly espoused ideals such as diversity and inclusivity. The Charlottesville attack is pushing employees and customers to ask those corporations whether they are going to live up to their slogans and corporate policies, said Brian Kropp, HR practice leader at consulting firm Gartner. “You don’t know what the values of your company are until they are tested, and now they are being tested,” he said. “Whatever you say you stand for in an organization, you have to stand up for it when the moment comes. If you do that, odds are things will work out.” PayPal (PYPL) cut off business with more than three dozen hate groups and other extremist organizations following the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Among those are Altright.com, a white nationalist group led by Richard Spencer. “Regardless of the individual or organization in question, we work to ensure that our services are not used to accept payments or donations for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance,” PayPal said in a statement. Facebook (FB) banned the Facebook and Instagram accounts of a white nationalist who attended the Charlottesville rally. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post, “Debate is part of a healthy society. But when someone tries to silence others or attacks them based on who they are or what they believe, that hurts us all and is unacceptable.” At the same time, some customers are pushing back, asking in social media posts whether the organizations will hold other groups to the same standards. Others are expressing concern that it might backfire. “I think this leads to more Nazis,” one user wrote in response to Cloudflare’s decision. “Instead of laughing at them, they feel persecuted and silenced. Which reinforces their beliefs.” While some users claim their free speech is being violated, private companies have the right to set their terms of service, just as they have the right to discipline employees for code of conduct violations. The latter was an issue that arose when Google fired engineer James Damore after he published a manifesto that argued the gender gap in technology is due to biological factors, such as women’s higher “neuroticism” than men. “People confuse the fact that the government is not allowed to restrict free speech, but private companies are,” said Michael Niborski, a partner at law firm Pryor Cashman who specializes in free speech issues. “It’s a cost-benefit analysis by the company: Are we going to lose customers? Are we going to get bad publicity because we are giving them a platform or a website and allowing them to display their music?” He added, “One thing that makes this particularly unique is you are talking about one of the most vilified, negative groups in history, and so companies feel protected in taking their music down.” Play Video The White House is struggling to deal with the fallout following President Trump’s response to Charlottesville. CBS News White House and senior f… In essence, Silicon Valley is confronting the “paradox of tolerance,” the idea outlined by philosopher Karl Popper that a tolerant society must be intolerant of intolerance. Otherwise, the intolerant will have the freedom to destroy tolerance. Employees increasingly are important constituents in businesses’ decisions to stand up against bigotry and white supremacy, Gartner’s Kropp said. A generation ago, workers didn’t identity as much with their employers’ values, but employees now see their workplaces as extensions of their own core beliefs. “If you are banning some of these things, it’s a fairly small minority of people who are fairly outraged about it,” he said. But without speaking out against intolerance, “especially in the tech space where it’s super competitive, you run a huge risk of losing a chunk of your employee base to the competition.” But banning white supremacists can be good for business, even if some customers question corporate control over free speech. For instance, dating site OKCupid banned white supremacist Chris Cantwell for life, 10 minutes after they received the alert he had a profile on their site. Customers praised the decision, with one women writing, “Single women all over the world thank you!!!” “There is no room for hate in a place where you’re looking for love,” OKCupid said on Twitter.

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August 18, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

Free Speech or Hate Speech? Civil Liberties Body ACLU Will No Longer Defend Gun-Carrying Protest Groups – Newsweek

Since its founding during a period of anti-communist paranoia in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has served as a reliable line of defense for those who find their constitutional freedoms under threat. Sometimes, that means fighting for liberal causes: ACLU lawyers were involved in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the two U.S. Supreme Court victories that underpinned womens right to abortionin modern America.And the ACLU was the only major U.S. organization to speak out against the internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. But sometimes, the group has decided to defend people who its liberal supporters find less palatable. In a 1934 pamphlet, entitled “Shall We Defend Free Speech for Nazis in America?” the group defended its choice to stand up for German-American Nazis who wanted to hold meetings in the U.S. Is it not clear that free speech as a practical tactic, not only as an abstract principle, demands the defense of all who are attacked in order to obtain the rights of any? its justification read. Daily Emails and Alerts – Get the best of Newsweek delivered to your inbox In modern America, the ACLU finds itself in a similar bind. With far-right groups like neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan more visible, and white nationalists grouping under the self-defined banner of the “alt-right,”it must decide whether it will defend the rights of such groups to demonstrate and spread their often hateful views. While the ACLU does still advocate for such groups, it is now laying out some strict boundaries about what it is willing to stand up for. Prior tothe Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville,Virginia, the ACLU actedin support of the organizers, who were originally denied a permit to gather. However, that gathering resulted in violent clashesand the death of a woman when a man drove his car into a group of anti-fascist counterprotesters. On Thursday, the ACLU made a statement specifying that it would not defend groups that wanted to incite violence or march armed to the teeth, the Los Angeles Times reported. We review each request for help on a case-by-case basis, but take the clear position that the 1st Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence, the statement, from three California ACLU affiliates, said. If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution, the statement continued. The 1st Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence. Waldo Jaquith, a former member of the ACLU Virginia board, had already resigned over the groups decision to defend far-right activists. I just resigned from the ACLU of Virginia board, he wrote on Twitter. Whats legal and whats right are sometimes different. I wont be a fig leaf for Nazis. As the organizations ranks have swelledin many cases with people opposed to the policies of U.S. President Donald Trumpand left-wing views on zero-tolerance anti-fascist tactics gain a greater hearing, this is likely to be just the start of a long wrestle within the ACLU on the boundaries between defending free speech and endangering more vulnerable groups. Members of the Charlottesville community hold a vigil for Heather Heyer, who died protesting the rally, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 16. The Cavalier Daily/Handout/Reuters

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Tech companies can distinguish between free speech and hate speech if they want to – Phys.Org

August 18, 2017 by David Glance, The Conversation Freedom or Hate Speech? Credit: wk1003mike/shutterstock In the wake of violence in the US town of Charlottesville, the tech industry has started removing access to some of their services from groups associated with the far-right and those espousing racial intolerance. Apple has disabled Apple Pay from sites selling clothing, stickers and other merchandise with Nazi logos and other white supremacist slogans. GoDaddy and Google removed support for the “Daily Stormer”, a far-right website. Other companies like Uber, Facebook, Twitter, MailChimp and Wordpress have all taken varying degrees of action The battle between protection and censorship The moves by the tech companies, whilst generally welcomed given the events of Charlottesville including the tragic death of Heather Heyer, are still provoking the ongoing debate of the tension between regulating hate speech and preserving, for American’s at least, the sanctity of freedom of speech. Groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who support the actions against neo-Nazi groups, at the same time express concern for free speech and upholding the First Amendment of the US Constitution that enshrines that right. The EFF is concerned that these platforms will not exercise these rights properly and other groups and voices will be silenced, wrongly, in the same way. Facebook has come under recent criticism for censoring LGBTQ people’s posts because they contained words that Facebook deem offensive. At the same time, the LGBTQ community are one of the groups frequently targetted with hate speech on the platform. If users seem to “want their cake and eat it too”, the tech companies are similarly conflicted. In Facebook’s community standards, it says it will remove posts it deems to be hate speech. At the same time however, Facebook has fought strongly against a German law that will see it, and other social media platforms, fined up to Euro 50 million if they fail to remove hate speech and other illegal content from their site within days of being notified. In its fight against the law, Facebook claimed it could not technologically filter and deal with the sheer volume of images and content posted on its platform. It further claimed that dealing with hate speech on its platform was not its responsibility but that of the “public and state”. It would be easy to think that the tech companies simply wanted to be seen to be doing something about hate speech whilst at the same time, limiting their responsibility to deal with the problem systematically. A difficult problem On the surface, it may seem to be a significant challenge to allow free speech whilst stopping hate speech that targets people based on their race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, gender, or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases. In Germany, Facebook argued that it would need to hire thousands of lawyers to review posts that were brought to its attention. At the same time however, Facebook markets its platform to advertisers exlicitly on the basis that it is able to provide detailed personal information based on what its 2 billion monthly users post and read. Facebook often talks about its advances in machine learning and text and image recognition that are certainly capable of at least highlighting problematic posts for human review or identifying copies of images that it has already deemed problematic. Distinguishing freedom of speech from hate speech The right of freedom of speech is not unique to the United States. This right is also enshrined in Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At the same time, the laws of many countries like Germany, and other international conventions, explicitly limit these freedoms when it comes to hate speech. The illegality of hate speech is made explicit in Article 13(5) of American Convention of Human Rights and the UN’s International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. National and international courts have already dealt with numerous cases that have led to determinations of the differences between freedom of speech and hate speech. It would not be impossible for tech companies to form clear guidelines within their own platforms about what was and wasn’t permissable. For the mainly US companies, this would mean that they would have to be increasingly aware of the differences between US law and culture and those of other countries. Will their actions continue? It is always unfortunate that it takes the loss of human life to spur the tech companies into behaviour that should have been their default. It remains to be seen how long this activity will persist before they revert back to claiming that ultimately it is not their problem. Explore further: Facebook now deleting 66K posts a week in anti-hate campaign This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Facebook said Tuesday that it deleted about 66,000 posts a week in the last two months as the social media giant cracks down on what it deems to be hate speech. Facebook, Google and other US internet giants have sharply boosted efforts to clamp down on online hate speech, a top European Union official said Thursday. It took bloodshed in Charlottesville to get tech companies to do what civil rights groups have been calling for for years: take a firmer stand against accounts used to promote hate and violence. Internet giants Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube are not doing enough to fight online hate speech despite “moving in the right direction”, the European Commission said on Tuesday. An artist tired of seeing hateful tweets ignored by Twitter has managed to get the social network to remove or hide some of themby spray-painting the offending posts in front of the company’s German headquarters. Facebook and Twitter have months to improve their response to online hate speech in Germany or face legal measures, the country’s justice minister said Tuesday. If disaster ever struck, Joe Fleischmann could keep the lights, refrigerator and big-screen TV running in his Orange County home, even if the power company went dark. Standing in a warehouse in a Moscow suburb, Dmitry Marinichev tries to speak over the deafening hum of hundreds of computers stacked on shelves hard at work mining for crypto money. Buildings could soon be able to convert the sun’s energy into electricity without the need for solar panels, thanks to innovative new technology. Battery researchers agree that one of the most promising possibilities for future battery technology is the lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) battery, which could provide three times as much power for a given weight as today’s … Distracted drivingtexting or absent-mindednessclaims thousands of lives a year. Researchers from the University of Houston and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute have produced an extensive dataset examining how … Facebook’s interest in China has led it to discreetly create a photo-sharing application released there without the social network’s brand being attached. Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

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