Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has been right alongside Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in many crusades advocating for a free and open Internet where there can be many connections and collaborations, sharing of ideas, photos and thoughts, and where all opinions are welcomed, shared and expressed. But in the world of cyber-liberty, is there a line that is crossed, and can the internet itself define that line, or is that up to the individual Web sites that encourage open expression?
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), to be frank, has been a virtual breeding ground for various types of speech – from political to satirical, racist to homophobic, xenophobic to outright threatening – and there have been local, state and federal officials who have been constantly on guard with social media to ensure that threats are taken seriously. And one of the big topics among hateful or threatening speech has been abuse and violence toward women, including rape. While the First Amendment is pretty clear about free speech and the rights of people to express what they want, and Facebook has always been an advocate for free speech, would changing the web site’s policy on “hate speech” constitute further censorship and infringing on that sacred right to free speech?
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is certainly one that understands limits to free-speech rights, but thanks to a campaign against the hate speech against women or the speech on Facebook that seems to advocate rape and violence, Facebook has agreed to review its policies on users engaging in “hateful” speech on the site, to where it may adjust them to address more specific topics. The move comes after a women’s advocacy group launched a campaign against Facebook, claiming that the company has endorsed content that advocates r describes violence against women.
“They claim that these pages fall under the ‘humor’ part of their guidelines, or are expressions of ‘free speech’,” claimed the group that launched the campaign.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), in reaction to the campaign, made a statement that says it needs to address the problem more directly.