Each 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.