In an editorial published in the New York Times on May 31, Facebook executives claimed that individual posts by users will not be monitored or censored, just ‘group pages’ which focus on sexist, misogynist, or racist subjects. Facebook has long had a ‘report’ feature which allows users to report offensive posts by individual users, however Facebook rarely removes such posts claiming that doing so would violate the First Amendment.
First Amendment rights are at the center of this debate as the internet has enabled people to share, post, and spread hateful speech. According to Abraham Foxman, hate pollutes the internet environment as there are thousands of websites devoted to some form of hate… but are these site breaking the law?
As a society we must decide if such speech, though offensive, breaks the law or if it is protected by the First Amendment. The First Amendment is not meant only for those who express views with which you agree, it is intended to protect the freedom of expression of all Americans. That being said, there are some limits to the Amendment, and the issue here is whether or not Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites have, or at least should have the ability to censure offensive, potentially dangerous hate speech.