Connect with us

Politics

Freedom Of Speech And The Internet: A Complicated Relationship

Freedom Of Speech And The Internet: A Complicated Relationship

It is safe to say that if you open yourself up to the online world, you are going to bear witness to some pretty shocking stuff at some point of your online existence. And if you are a blogger, a filmmaker or an online journalist, there is a very good chance that your blog posts, social media accounts, YouTube videos or online articles are going to be defaced with derogatory comments, either about you, the subject matter or via arguments between users.

YouTube comments are some of the most horrendous posts you can find on the internet. A mixture of misogyny, racism and aggression, most of the worst comments you will find on there often have little or no connection to the original video upload. It baffles and shocks you in equal measure. YouTube comments are also one of the best places for Godwin’s Law, which has become a phenomenon of the internet age. Godwin’s Law states:

“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

Basically, what this means is that eventually, almost every online discussion becomes a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis. And if it isn’t anti-semitic remarks, it is misogynistic remarks or attacks about a person’s sexual preference or race. Even the controversial Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle Tweeted about it in May 2012, stating:

Freedom Of Speech And The Internet: A Complicated Relationship

Online newspapers and blogs such as the Mail Online and the Huffington Post are also rife with these comments, which begs the question: Why aren’t these comments regulated better? Surely even freedom of speech has its limits, especially when it comes to threatening rape and violence towards a person, or attacking their race, religious beliefs or gender?

You can argue both ways. There have been instances where people have committed suicide because of cyber bullying, and the majority of trolls are just people trying to provoke a response from people and create an argument online, with them posting a derogatory comment online, bookmarking the page and then coming back later to see if anyone has taken the bait and engaged.

I’ve been in the position myself. A Huffington Post article I wrote was attacked by a troll, and when somebody defended the article, the person was then attacked for their physical appearance and for being gay, despite neither their physical appearance nor sexual preference being available for anyone to see. When I clicked on the user’s profile, they were using a fake name and had written over 1,000 comments over a variety of posts. All of them negative or offensive. Should the Huffington Post have taken this user’s profile down? You could argue yes or no. The freedom of speech versus censorship debate that has never been more present than in the internet age.

The argument for non-censorship – regardless of how cruel or offensive the comments are – is that the need for free and open debate and being able to defend your beliefs and comments is one of the wonders of the internet age. This is especially true of news articles, where commenters can discuss the topic with each other and pick up inaccuracies in the post and inform the writer of points they may have missed. This is extremely useful to all parties. Inform and educate: Isn’t this the point of the net.

From a technological standpoint, there are ways to filter out the majority of the worse kind of comments, without actively censoring these pathetic people and wading into the freedom of speech debate. The likes of the profanity filter and video moderation has enabled web users to filter out the worst kind of web content, and the likes of Facebook, Google and online newspapers and blogs like The Guardian and Huffington Post have made more of an effort to moderate comments and enable users to flag inappropriate comments and posts.

The internet is so vast, and the range of people who use it just as vast, that it would be like finding a needle in a haystack if you were to try and censor everybody and cut out every last derogatory and negative comment that comes online. The relationship between freedom of speech and internet is in its infancy, and more than a little complicated. The best that we can do is try to think before we post, and try not to bite when people head to the web to pick a fight. It’s the only way to show these people that their behaviour is puerile and sad.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

Home Improvement2 days ago

Sparks and Smoke: 6 Signs Your House Needs Rewiring

If you bought an existing home, it’s likely the wiring was done a long time ago. Over the last few...

Autos3 days ago

Master Mechanic: How to Learn More About Your Vehicle

Driving a vehicle on a regular basis is one thing. Understanding how it works, however, is a whole other ball...

packers and movers packers and movers
Home Improvement5 days ago

Tips to choose packers and movers to help move your office space

Numerous moving companies in India help make your move to any city as smooth as possible. They offer quality and...

Health6 days ago

Enjoy Responsibly: The Safest Methods for Using Cannabis

As cannabis is becoming more and more legalized across the nation, people are becoming more curious about its uses. With...

moving services in Toronto moving services in Toronto
Home Improvement6 days ago

Tips on finding moving companies in Toronto providing comfortable moving services

Moving to an interstate location shall be stressful, especially if you are about to relocate on your own. Hiring professional...

Autos1 week ago

Choosing the Right Tail Lights for Your Car or Bike

If you need new tail lights for your car or bike, you’ll want to take several factors into consideration so...

End of lease cleaning in Melbourne End of lease cleaning in Melbourne
Home Improvement1 week ago

End of lease cleaning in Melbourne – Move in and Move out easily

If you are a tenant, you are sure to be aware of the fact that you get to move into...

team in Sydney team in Sydney
Lifestyle1 week ago

Tips in finding a trustworthy removalists team in Sydney

Relocating to a newly rented or leased house space can be a tedious and time-consuming process to perform on your...

Lifestyle2 weeks ago

4 Fashion Additions to Complete Your Outfit

A wonderful outfit can make you appear and feel like someone who can conquer the world without even breaking a...

Autos2 weeks ago

How to Go about Selling an Old Car for Parts

Selling an old car for parts is easier than most people realize, and your junker could be worth quite a...

Business3 weeks ago

4 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Feed Tank for Your Manufacturing

In every day manufacturing you may find that you need a feed tank for your operation. Selecting the right feed...

Tech3 weeks ago

How to Find a Phone that Fits your Needs

Are you looking to buy a phone that may suit your needs without poking a hole in your wallet? You...

Lifestyle3 weeks ago

Elegant Dinner: 4 Ways to Fancify Your Next Get-Together

Throwing a social gathering in the comfort of your own home can be a joy. If you want your upcoming...

Autos3 weeks ago

5 Issues You May Face in the Aftermath of an Auto Accident

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is something we all would like to avoid. However, no matter how safe...

Business4 weeks ago

5 Ways Guest Posting Can Help Grow Your Online Audience

Guest blogging is the process of posting your original content on someone else’s website. This might seem like a counterproductive...

Categories

Archives

Trending