Freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society. Without it, a tyrant can wreak havoc unopposed, while his opponents are silenced. Political speech, being the most protected form of speech under the First Amendment, warrants the highest level of scrutiny against the laws that regulate it.
Putting up with being offended is essential in a pluralistic society in which people differ on basic truths. If a group will not bear being offended without resorting to violence, that group will rule unopposed while everyone else lives in fear, while other groups curtail their activities to appease the violent group. This results in the violent group being able to tyrannize the others.
If speech that offends a group is outlawed, that group has absolute power, and a free society is destroyed. A group that cannot be criticized cannot be opposed. It can work its will no matter what it is, and no one will be able to say anything to stop it.
Inoffensive speech needs no protection. The First Amendment was developed precisely in order to protect speech that was offensive to some, in order to prevent those who had power from claiming they were offended by speech opposing them and silencing the powerless.
A free society is by its nature one in which people put up with others being uncivil and offensive. The alternative is a quiet authoritarian society in which only one opinion is allowed and the others are silenced, and ultimately sent to the camps.
Zuckerberg Vows Facebook Will Work With Governments on Hate Speech
By Alan Katz and Bloomberg, Fortune, May 10, 2019
Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said his company would work with governments to determine what content is acceptable on social-media networks.
Zuckerberg made the comments in an interview on France2 television after meeting with President Emmanuel Macron on Friday and following the release of a French government report that said new regulation should be applied to large social-media companies.
“Democracy works, and that’s why we want to work with the Macron government,” Zuckerberg said in a French translation of the interview. “We’re responsible for making sure that hate speech isn’t on our products and services, but what seems important is that there needs to be a public process to determine what is unacceptable, what mustn’t be on these networks, and we’re going to work with governments to do it.”
Facebook and other social media companies are confronting a crescendo of criticism in Europe and the U.S. over how they handle personal data, hate speech, and their vulnerability to manipulation. The rising outrage prompted Zuckerberg in March to call for government regulation of four broad areas — harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability.
The French government report, which will serve as a basis for redefining how France deals with hate speech, said new rules should make social networks accountable “for protecting the integrity their members, protecting users from abuse by other members and third-party attempts to manipulate the platform.”
Zuckerberg filed another post after his meeting with Macron. “We both believe governments should take a more active role around important issues like balancing expression and safety, privacy and data portability, and preventing election interference,” he wrote. “There are nuanced decisions to make here, such as how we should handle content that isn’t illegal but might cause harm.”
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