The Internet is filled with all different kinds of content. Whether it be a social media page, a blog or a website there is bound to be racist, offensive and inappropriate content within these pages. According to one of our articles, The Slippery Slope of Facebook Regulation, David Glance recounts a Facebook page controversy in which offensive content is blown so far out of proportion that it is requested to be taken down by policymakers and others of importance. The page ends up being taken down on the grounds that
The article also makes the argument that should this post have been taken down? I mean, it is freedom of speech. This is the argument I would like to focus on.
I believe this page should not have been taken down. In using other examples, the watchers and users on YouTube, another popular social networking site, can be so rude! The trolls comment on how fat the person in the video they are watching is and comment on how crappy of a singer the person is. YouTube gives you the option to disable your comments just as Facebook gives you the power to block a page. In the case of the article, people who found the page offensive could block it, or simply not visit it. The Internet should be able to be used freely just as people are allowed to express their feelings and beliefs in public.
At the same time, I can also see where the article is coming from, according to our civil rights, our constitution defines a hate crime as “a traditional offense like murder, arson or vandalism with an added element of bias” or “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”
Therefore, is our Internet behavior parallel to that of our face-to-face daily lives? Are our norms the same in both realities? According to Karl Allen Whemhoener who wrote a graduate thesis on this topic, believes it is the norms of our society that make this determination so difficult. The Internet is too new, and our constitution far too old to understand the norms of each.
Do we want our free Internet to be bombarded by regulations galore? I surely don’t wish for this. The internet is made up of all independent
networks plugged in to this free space, and based on that foundation has people interacting in public forums about certain topics that can make people uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean they have to take part in these discussions. Everyone shares their beliefs online is it really that big of a crime? However, making it’s own regulation up to the company, website or hosts discretion does seem like a fair trade. After all, what is a world without some rules?
Basically, the point I am trying to make is that even though there are crimes in the real world that are considered illegal and offensive, but most involve defacing private property and belongings. Is writing something foul on the Internet considered vandalizing the offended persons belongings? Especially when NO ONE owns the Internet. When I hear Internet, I hear “let freedom ring.”