What amazes me, in this ultra PC environment we live in, is that people are so concerned about the way and the words that they use for fear that they’ll be labeled one thing or another. Here’s the thing, if you disagree with something that someone says, you have many options available to you; they’re called choices. If you don’t want to listen to any more of it, you can choose to walk away. If what they said offends you, you can choose to have nothing to do with them. If what they said causes alarm, you can choose to do something about it.
This week, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and others decided that they would follow EU standards and remove what they deem to be hate speech within 24 hours. What’s troubling about this is that there are no clear boundaries of what is classified to be hate speech AND it makes it harder for the users of these platforms to identify people who would use this type of language and the intent behind it. Have we all forgotten the children’s rhyme “sticks and stones”?
There are many things that can be interpreted as hate speech and the intent behind this move is to target terrorists but how will it be determined what that is? For those thinking that this is a First Amendment problem, it isn’t. The American First Amendment protects you from the government with regards to the speech that you use. The fact that these are private companies should make you want to become more aware of the Terms and Conditions that each of the many platforms use and that you agree to when signing up.
Simply put, if you don’t like the change, don’t use their services. My main concern about this is that harmless speech will get caught up in the algorithm dragnet with possibly unfavorable consequences.