Social Media and Hate Speech: Who Gets to Decide?

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Nadine Strossen, the former president of the ACLU, argues that censorship does more harm than good—especially when it comes to social media platforms. In an interview filmed at the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival in June, Strossen explains that hate speech is not a recognized legal concept in the United States. “That said,” she continues, “speech that conveys a hateful message—along with speech that conveys any message—may, in a particular context, be punished if it directly causes specific imminent, serious harm.” Strossen goes on to demarcate the difference between free speech and hate speech. Ultimately, she makes a case for leaving the conversation about hate speech to citizens rather than government entities or privately-owned social media platforms.

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