Fandango’s Provocative Question #7

FPQEach week I will pose what I think is a provocative question. By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

This week’s provocative question occurred to me when I read an article in my local paper about Patreon, a site that allows “patrons” to sign up in order to compensate designated artists and writers for creating content an ongoing basis. I follow a few bloggers who are members of Patreon.

The article noted that Patreon has recently banned a number of its content contributors for posting what it considers to be hate speech. Patreon removed controversial anti-feminist Carl Benjamin, who works under the name Sargon of Akkad, earlier this month from its site for for using racist language on YouTube. That same week, it removed right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos a day after he opened an account.

These moves by Patreon prompted a revolt by some of Patreon’s more prominent contributors, citing worries about censorship.

The Patreon team wrote:

“Patreon does not and will not condone hate speech in any of its forms. We stand by our policies against hate speech. We believe it’s essential for Patreon to have strong policies against hate speech to build a safe community for our creators and their patrons.”

Other social media sites, from YouTube to Facebook to Twitter and Tumblr, have also banned content creators whose postings they consider to be “hate” speech.

With that in mind, here’s this week’s provocative question.

“Do you believe that social media sites should be able to censor what people post on their sites and ban content creators from posting? Or do you consider such actions to be a violation of freedom of speech, which is guaranteed as a right in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?”

If you don’t live in the U.S., please weigh in with your thoughts about freedom of speech versus social media sites banning content contributors in your country.

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

And most important, have fun.

17 thoughts on “Fandango’s Provocative Question #7

  1. James Pyles December 26, 2018 / 4:35 am

    Actually, the First Amendment only applies to the government restricting speech, not private corporations. That said, a little over a week ago, I wrote a blog post about this very topic. Yes, Facebook, twitter, Patreon, etc have the right to create and enforce “right of use” policies as long as they apply them equally and do not deliberately bias for one political view point and against another. There have been times when, to put it mildly, their objectivity has been brought into question.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Marleen December 26, 2018 / 7:17 am

    This is a very sticky issue for a few reasons. For one, it is considered foundational that the First Amendment is about government control — that the government shouldn’t* control speech. Second, however, as our government under neo-cons and neo-liberals has moved more and more toward privatization, we could end up with very few places where the liberty applies.

    I would like to point out, also, that the government (we the people) invented the internet (in terms of Intellectual property so to speak), if I’m not mistaken. It can be argued that there is a legitimate claim for the interests of all. There is also the concept of services being so fundamental that they are utilities rather than simply businesses (no matter who invented any of it).

    The way I normally view the social media I use or visit or have visited, it is pretty much up to whoever is running the place. That goes for anything from an individual site/blog/channel to a service or server or what have you (WordPress for example or “poweredbyrobots” for another). Of what you listed, Fandango (patreon, youtube, facebook, twitter, tumblr), I only use YouTube [I do not have a channel and don’t even participate in the comments]. I do have a Twitter account, but have only used it two or three times (years ago); I don’t even go there to read what others have posted, except when I’m reading a news article or the like and there is such content (or a link) included. I reported something abusive to YouTube a couple weeks ago or so. I haven’t checked to see what they did about it, but I felt responsible to say something about what I saw.

    It is or should be — considering what all is “out there” in the sense of people who aren’t well intended — a lot of work for administrators of large platforms to keep content cleaned up… or, as they mainly tend to put it, “safe.”

    * There are exceptions to the rule against government having some jurisdiction over speech. Hate speech or inciting violence, as examples, are in everyone’s interest (private or clearly government) to monitor and possibly ban or censor. We generally recognize that there are limits and not a straight “free-for-all” intended.

    As for the notion that a private organization should be fair… in a very general sense, I agree. But being “even” politically won’t tend to make sense (as some types of politics tend more toward hate or disrespect or undermining of decency).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rugby843 December 26, 2018 / 10:27 am

    I think people forget there are block, spam and delete buttons on most sites. I’d rather people voiced hate than acting it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn Armstrong December 26, 2018 / 6:20 pm

      A lot of people ARE acting it out and don’t think they don’t also spout it on social media. I have lost all my patience with this crap. All of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. V.J. Knutson December 26, 2018 / 12:55 pm

    I think Canada has stricter laws restricting hate speech, which I support.


  5. Marleen December 26, 2018 / 1:49 pm

    One of the first two forums I ever participated in was very conservative (in the American sense of that word as a way of politics and religious views). There was a basically old church lady who watched over it, even though she wasn’t the owner. One of the worst things she would do is cut off like half a sentence here or there (thereby changing the meaning or understanding of what was said). Or she’d drop a whole paragraph (among others). This would have to do with what she thought was bad theology sometimes. It’s been a long time, so I don’t remember all the details. It certainly didn’t seem to make sense all the time. So I’ve experienced overly-active censoring. Nasty language and name-calling was discouraged (or probably totally ruled out); that’s a judgment call. Mostly, I think it’s better not to chop up and confuse what someone has said. If they show themselves to be constantly or largely abusive, better to ban them than to edit someone else’s writing (other than to remove full posts when necessary). I did notice, a few months ago, that Twitter sometimes does something like a time out.

    Talking things out is good, I think. So… better not to be too jumpy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. msjadeli December 26, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    This reminds me my yahoo group, (also called tao talk) and how I handle censorship (not much traffic there anymore now, but back in the day there was some.) The inevitable troll would come along — honestly I think every persona was the same person — and start spewing stuff not remotely related to the topic or more or less the ramblings of someone off their rocker. I never censored the person(a/s), but I did put the settings so I had to approve any messages. Instead of deleting them or keeping them blocked, they were put in a special folder where group members had/have access to them. Once they were relegated to “the folder” the spamming ended. Not possible with a lot of platforms now, but back then it worked.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Marilyn Armstrong December 26, 2018 / 6:16 pm

    I don’t want to get into a writing thing here. Sore hand, sore arm. But I remember, back when I was in college, they invited George Lincoln Rockwell who was the scion of the 1960s local Nazis. My philosophy professor went out on strike because, he said, there really IS such a thing as “right” and “wrong.”

    Hate and hate speech is wrong. And frankly, between Garry who has spent a lifetime getting mentally beaten up for being Black and being Jewish and dealing with that? You know other countries ban hate speech. Most of them do. Because it is wrong and ugly and not democratic. The haters are bad people. Bad. Evil.

    And frankly, yeah, I think right and wrong wins over the “freedom” to trash people on social media. These are the people who trash the first amendment until they need it, then they wrap themselves in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Marleen December 27, 2018 / 1:03 pm

    Important thoughts and links to articles and a documentary, Ursula (upturned soul). Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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