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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts

Business1 day ago

Why Is Quantity Surveying Essential in Construction Industry

Quantity surveying is an essential part of the Australian construction industry. It is the process of calculating and estimating the...

Home Improvement3 days ago

How to Maintain Upholstered Furniture

No matter if you have pets or kids, maintaining your upholstered furniture is quite a challenge. Even though vacuuming it...

Business1 week ago

How Do I Find a Good Bubble.io Developer?

Finding a good bubble developer to help build your app or digital product can seem challenging. How can you choose...

Home Improvement1 week ago

When is a right time for home repairs?

Summer is a popular time for a renovation around the globe. While it is true that bright days and warm...

Top Alteryx Competitors Top Alteryx Competitors
Tech3 weeks ago

Top 15 Alteryx Competitors

The world has seen a tremendous rise in startups and new incorporations in the business world. Companies have great potential...

Lifestyle1 month ago

Latest Wedding Trends for 2023

If you’re planning on getting married this year, chances are you’re probably overwhelmed and confused when it comes to wedding...

Lifestyle1 month ago

Tips To Make The Most Of Your City Break In London!

London is one of the best cities in the world, known for its quintessentially British culture, great nightlife, fantastic museums...

General1 month ago

The Ultimate Guide To Packing For A Trip To London

London is one of the best cities in the world, known for it’s rich history, quintessentially British culture, the best...

Tech1 month ago

Top 15 Web Development IDEs

The web development field has seen sustainable growth throughout the years. As technology is advancing, so is the web development...

devops devops
Tech2 months ago

12 Key DevOps Programming Languages to Still Popular in 2022

“DevOps is not a goal, but a never-ending process of continual improvement.” – Jez Humble Delivering the finest of services...

Entertainment2 months ago

Festival Fashion Style Tips For 2022

Summer is well and truly here and with that comes the festival season! From the biggest stars performing on stage...

Green & Energy2 months ago

4 Tips For Making Your Wardrobe More Sustainable

Everyone is trying to make more of an effort to make their wardrobe more sustainable, but often are unsure where...

General3 months ago

7 tips on how to organize a budget-friendly move

If you are planning a move any time soon, you might be worried about all the expenses that wait for...

Metal Roof Colors Metal Roof Colors
Home Improvement3 months ago

Metal Roof Colors: How to Select the Best Color for a New Roof

Choosing the right type of material for your roof is enough of a hassle already that the question of choosing...

Health3 months ago

Simple Ways To Feel More Confident At The Gym

If you are new to the gym, or you haven’t been in a while, sometimes you might not feel completely...

Categories

Archives

Trending