Squabble Over Controversial Content

Imagine this: You log in to your Facebook account one morning, and while casually browsing the site to discover new “friends,” you stumble across the page of an individual or group whose in-your-face, preposterous statements get you seething with anger.

The objective may or may not have been to incite a controversial storm, but it’s likely the poster took into account that strong emotional responses would be a by-product.

Now, try to mull over this next question more objectively: Even if you do consider certain material to be offensive, derogatory or just simply untrue, would you vote in favor of having the aforementioned statements permanently revoked from cyberspace? Or would you be willing to put personal feelings aside and argue that freedom of speech — or in this case, the written word — should take precedence?

Well, if you’re having trouble deciding, you’re not alone. A number of incidents have cropped up in recent months that get at this very question, and the nature of the responses varies drastically depending on the source.

Take, for instance, a legal movement that began to gain some momentum a few months ago. The purpose of the effort was to coerce Facebook administrators to delete and ban a number of groups that banded together and used the social networking forum to put forth their radical view: denying that the Holocaust ever took place.

Now, you can see how such a topic would be considered objectionable by the vast majority of the public. But that’s…


Deanna Hartley

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Posted in Opinion|

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