Thursday, May 30, 2013

Facebook and Censorship


An article this morning had a fairly interesting argument for saying that Facebook should not be censoring hate speech.

My take is everyone has the right to free speech - and it's true that this should not be censored, however, that doesn't mean I should be seeing everything by default.  Things that are against the law (hate speech) should be removed - that much is clear.  But Facebook is rapidly filling up with new material that's not hate speech, but still should be censored into an adult category.

An example is my timeline often gets filled with pictures of shocking things that I don't want to have to see on my phone in public, but people feel the need to perpetuate this stuff and so it ends up being queued for me to look at.  This week a picture of a dumped dead baby corpse was going around that thousands of people quite rightly found outrageous.  Yes, it's outrageous, but I don't want it appearing on my timeline when I'm sitting on transit and some nine year old is sitting next to me and possibly sneaking in a peek of what's on my device.  

It's one thing to be able to check out this stuff in the privacy of your own home, but there's no mechanism to stop this by default.  It needs to be categorized and locked out of sight.  

This means there is still a need for a modicum of censorship.