Most reasonable folks can identify hate speech when they see it. Outrageous viewpoints that call for an entire race to be wiped out fall into that category, and folks that don’t subscribe to that line of thinking will quickly tune it out and dismiss it.
While that’s typically pretty cut and dry, it gets confusing when people try to lump opposing viewpoints into that category as well. We’ve seen that play out in frightening fashion on a number of college campuses, as conservative speakers have had to deal with massive protests or had their appearances canceled entirely.
That crosses the line into censorship. It’s concerning enough on a small scale with individual events, but it becomes downright frightening when tech giants take it upon themselves to decide what’s hate speech and what’s not.
As Reuters shares, Canada’s conservative Rebel Media had its collective plug pulled by an unidentified tech company that decided to stop directing traffic its way.
“If this was a political censorship decision, it is terrifying – like a phone company telling you it is cancelling your phone number on 24 hours notice because it doesn’t like your conversations,” Rebel Media founder Ezra Levant told Reuters.
Rebel Media is known for videos like this – news pieces presented from a conservative viewpoint on hot-button issues.
In the wake of Charlottesville, the site has found itself lumped in with the alt-right. The company founder is doing his best to distance the company from that category, but he hasn’t found much success.
Down here in the US, both GoDaddy and Google decided to stop doing business with a neo-Nazi website that rose to prominence and helped organize the rally.
Here’s what’s fascinating about the site in question (which we won’t name): the vast majority of United States residents had never heard of it before the mainstream media kept saying its name over and over.
If you’re so concerned about hate speech, why would you continually give what amounts to free commercials to a purveyor of it?
Either way, users of sound mind can quickly recognize the site for what it is and click away if they happen to stumble across it. Users can pull off that trick without the nanny state doing it for them. As offensive as the content may be, does anyone really want tech companies deciding what should make it through the filters?