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Should Social Media Censor Offensive Content?

Is it free speech, and if so, should social networks honor that designation?

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Should Social Media Censor Offensive Content?
[ Social Media]

At what point does content on social media sites become too offensive? Does the social network have an obligation to protect its users from extreme topics of conversation? Or should a social network never pull controversial content, as it is tantamount to limiting free speech?

These are some questions that went through my mind while browsing through all the tweets and various opinion pieces concerning a specific Twitter trending topic that appeared over the weekend. That trend became incredibly controversial almost immediately after it landed on the top trends list.

The hashtag #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend sparked a flurry of protest, many calling for @twitter to do something about the offensive trend. Most asked Twitter to remove it from the trends lists altogether.

Is there any content on Twitter or Facebook that you think deserves to be removed? Let us know in the comments.

The tweets containing the hashtag ranged from jokes like “…because she won’t make you a sandwich” and “because she killed your kid and got away with it” to rebukes such as “NEVER any reason” and “this is the most disgusting #TT I’ve ever seen.”

Of course, all of the people tweeting about the hashtag being horrible helped to keep it on the trending topic list, but anyways…

So #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend is a trending topic. Almost as lame as those demanding to censor it. #moraldilemma 13 hours ago via TweetDeck · powered by @socialditto

By Sunday night, the controversial hashtag was no longer on the list of trending topics either worldwide or for the United States. As of Monday morning, the hashtag wasn’t on the trending topic lists for any of the specific cities either. New tweets containing the hashtag were no longer coming in at a fast clip either – maybe a couple a minute at most.

Did Twitter remove the hashtag at the behest of the group of outraged users? Or did the topic just run its course and die out in popularity?

Here’s the graph of 24 hour activity surrounding the hashtag, provided by Trendistic. it seems to suggest that the chatter surrounding the hashtag died down pretty quickly.

But Monday afternoon, Twitter users who found the hashtag offensive continued to employ strategies to combat the trend. One way was through an online petition that counted retweets as signatures. Hosted on act.ly, here’s what the retweet looked like.

Petition @twitter 2 remove #Reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend as a trend. Domestic Violence is not a joke. http://act.ly/41k RT to sign 12 hours ago via act.ly · powered by @socialditto

According to the site, it got somewhere around 2,500 retweets.

Some just asked @twitter directly to delete the trend from the list. Others attempted to counteract the trend by starting new hashtags like #violenceisnotfunny and #140reasonsdvisnotajoke.

But a sizable minority lamented people’s inability to take a joke.

Look people, “Reasons to beat your girlfriend” isn’t a clever hashtag. It didn’t produce very funny tweets. #DescribeYourPenisWithAMovieTitle – now there’s a winner. But #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend is far from the most offensive thing I’ve seen on Twitter.

Twitter is a wonderful resource for lightning-fast, real time communication. Its openness and free flow of information make it great. Does Twitter want to get into the usual business of censoring trending topics?

Reports of Twitter-trend censorship aren’t new. Back in 2010, people comlained that Twitter removed #WikiLeaks trends out of the topic list. Apparently, #WikiLeaks was still seeing a flood of tweets rolling it but some users noticed that it had mysteriously vanished from the list of trends. Twitter later denied that they had pulled the trend.

Other hashtags like #NoGod have also received attention after users claimed that Twitter had removed them from trends.

If you want to get technical about this, #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend doesn’t break any official Twitter regulations. On their about trending topics help page, Twitter lists the abuses that could result in punishment –

  • Adding one or more topic/hashtag to an unrelated Tweet in an attempt to gain attention in search.
  • Repeatedly Tweeting the same topic/hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending/trending higher.
  • Tweeting about each trending topic in turn in order to drive traffic to your profile, especially when mixed with advertising.
  • Listing the trending topics in combination with a request to be followed.
  • Tweeting about a trending topic and posting a misleading link to something unrelated.
  • Nothing about offensive trends here. And on the official Twitter Rules page, the only content guideline that pertains is “You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others.” The hashtag in question is definitely not a specific threat. The Twitter content rules say nothing about offensive trends.

    So it could be a judgment call for Twitter. Should they intervene in a situation like this?

    As long as Twitter exists, offensive trends will as well. Last month the controversy was #RapistSongs and now we have #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend. Next month there could be something even more offensive.

    Things like rape and domestic violence are terrible whenever they happen to whomever they happen to – but a joke is a joke. Twitter can’t make a habit of removing trending topics just because they ruffle some feathers. If that’s what people are talking about the most, then it should show up on the list. Offensive speech is protected speech when it comes to the law, and Twitter should follow that recommendation. Can you imagine the backlash if Twitter began to censor topics regularly?

    What about Facebook? They don’t have a “trending topics” list but that hasn’t stopped them from inviting controversy over offensive content.

    Just last week the debate emerged surrounding Holocaust denier groups on the on the social network. Should Facebook remove those groups? Should all speech be free, even that kind that is absolutely despicable to most of us?

    Another huge controversy hit Facebook when Jewish activists demanded that they take down a page entitled “Third Palestinian Intifada.” That page called for a specific date to begin an uprising against Israel. Comments and videos also called for the killing of Jews. Facebook eventually pulled the page, but was later sued for not taking it down fast enough.

    Here, the lines become even blurrier. Is free speech still free speech when it advocates actual, specific violence? The law would say no. A person can’t advocate that harm be done to another, specific person. To what extent should social networks police this type of content?

    And what about when the offensive content isn’t simply words anymore, but videos? YouTube has a policy against aggressively shocking content, but that policy was tested when they pulled an animal cruelty video uploaded by the activist group Mercy For Animals.

    The video, which shows the horrible treatment of cows at a slaughterhouse, was later reinstated by YouTube after people protested the removal. This begs the question: What do social networks do about offensive content when it is also informative or documentary in nature?

    The two issues when it comes to social media and censorship are whether offensive content is protected free speech and even if it is, should social networks model their policies on our constitutional definition of free speech?

    Even if a horrible Twitter trend or a unsettling Facebook page counts as free speech, does the social network have the obligation to let it stand? Or should they make the decision to remove it based on enough public outcry?

    I think the removal of controversial content by social media sites starts us down a slippery slope. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

    Should Social Media Censor Offensive Content?


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    • Zinox

      I don’t think Twitter should censor any trending topics, If they do then whats the point of tweeting your own opinion?

      However in this post you failed to mention the trending topics #fuckyouwashington and #OpPayPal censored and removed by twitter in the past 4-5 days.

      • Catherine White

        Thank you for your observation, as I feel this trending blog is as guilty as the trending topic it uses to make it’s slippery point.

    • Roe

      No, no, and NO!!!

      Take the Israeli-Palestine issue for example. A very heated topic, yet I guarantee that if you let any group claim it’s offensive and should be taken down, someone like AIPAC would try to do just that under the pretext that any anti-Israel speech amounts to antisemitism.

      Regardless of how you feel about this issue, look at the precedent this could set for other heated issues.

      Censorship: never a good idea.

    • Cece

      Censorship is never ok.

      Its all a mess but the hysterical cries for censorship are the worst of it.

    • http://retailedge.com Azrian

      Almost anything could be offensive in some way to someone. The solution isn’t to censor anything that might be offensive.

    • http://www.jumbocdinvestments.com/ ChrisCD

      It is certainly difficult to know when to “censor”. Often it is better to combat it through similar free speech then have someone step in (as many in this case did).

      There is a difference between Gov’t censorship and a private business deciding what to keep or remove from their site. Twitter is a private business and certainly has the right to remove what they want.

      Those that started it probably thought they were being funny. But, for those that have experience it, it is no laughing matter. I recently dealt with something similar. My son thought he was being funny with a comment, but it really hit a nerve and I let him know in no uncertain terms. That comment was “censored” in my book, at least in the context of a joke.

      cd :O)

    • http://www.mmwaxmodels.com mmersky

      Universal Laws should apply. No racial slurs, no name calling that is derogatory and/or cruel, and respect for everyone needs to be in place. I find people being offended more today than ever. There is a hyper-sensitivity that is pervasive in society today. Just be sure to do unto others as you would have them do to you. A lot of impolite public comments lately on Youtube and facebook so I hide them permanently.:P

    • William Jones

      The content, while offensive, should not be removed. People have the right to free speech and their own opinions, and the people who do not agree with the message can choose to not view such messages/content, or even to post content that rebuffs the original message.
      As I always say, “There is no accounting for taste, or lack there-of.” Any message you do not like, don’t view. Would you watch a movie or TV show if it is not too your taste?
      Most people who post such are looking for attention, so respond by NOT giving it too them. If they can not get the attention they crave, they will move on.

    • Ryan Kempf

      I agree people should learn its not a necessary to cuss or anything else to get their point across for those who think cussing is cute well its not in the least

    • http://docsheldon.com Doc Sheldon

      I disagree that it approaches a slippery slope, for one reason. Twitter, Facebook, Google+… these are all corporate properties. Just as I have the right to decide what comments I will allow on my blog, or the NYT has the right to decide what Letter to the Editor it will publish, they have nothing to do with free speech.
      Every American is entitled to say what they want, but not necessarily where they want to say it. Just as my living room or a company’s lobby is not public property, neither is any website.
      That said, Twitter has the right (and some might say, the obligation to protect its site and its users from some material. Racism, abuse, bullying… nobody in his right mind argues those as being an exercise in free speech. Certainly, this episode was less extreme, but again… it’s their property. They must have given a great amount of thought to the implications of censoring the trend – I applaud them for doing the right thing.
      I suspect(hope) the original Tweet was made tongue-in-cheek, and as such wouldn’t warrant any action, IMO. But the comments that surfaced later changed that.

      • http://www.cambroiderysanjose.com Walt Landers

        I disliked the nonsense censorship of the pre-’60′s, but also the freedom to march and speak in public places of nazis and kkks. It is a slippery slope on both sides, and needs top quality intelligence to decide what is appropriate. Formulas for poisons, bomb making instructions, even when hidden in humor, are not good communications,…. but of course, I’m only kidding.

    • http://myalmanac.blog.ca/ R. Hiebert

      My opinion on social media censoring content, it should happen to some degree but the controversy will remain as long as there are people alive for obvious reasons. The issue is how to deal with it. Webmasters or owners of a particular URL are held accountable and could lose their place in the web if not managed appropriately. We hear about certain web sites being terminated when this happens, so it is a reality already. Most people have standards that apply to morality and keeping life sacred but what bothers me is when a competitor of a particular product brand can influence a web master, or a social media website, to suspend an account.
      I know I get it. Where something offends or contradicts the mission statement, (ie. me first,) of a particular social media web site, you’re on his/her territory

    • Angie

      Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to glorify or encourage others to violence, hatred, prejudice or extremism which could potentially result in someone’s injury.

      Social Media is a form of ‘media’ no different to newspapers, television or radio. It is a means of reaching or influencing the opinions of millions of people around the world and in the wrong hands could be used for both good and sinister purposes. It should therefore adhere to the same principles of responsibility and ethics as all other media.

      Freedom of speech means being able to talk about a variety of topics in an open and honest way. It does not mean however that such discussions should be allowed to take place in hateful, derogatory or obscene language or to condone or minimise behaviour that is illegal, violent or can harm others. An honest discussion would be to hear opinions on when it is acceptable for a man to hit a woman – i.e. in self-defence or when attacked etc., or cultural attitudes to this issue. Such a serious discussion would not be demeaning and would allow for different points of view. I am a woman and even though I do not condone domestic violence can agree that there may be circumstances when a man should be allowed to protect himself and am willing to listen to opinions in support of this.

      Taking such a serious topic in jest,as was the case in this particular thread, is trivialising a very serious matter and making a mockery of domestic violence which often results in serious injury, death, acid attacks or all kinds of abuse. The victims who have been maimed or injured in such attacks read such threads too.

      There are people out there stupid enough to think the subject is funny and these kinds of online discussions might incite them to act out what they read or to justify their own violent behaviour, which ultimately results in greater suffering for the victims. Anyone posting on the Internet should be responsible enough to realise that there are many unbalanced people out there. The pen is mightier than the sword and we wouldn’t go go around leaving sharpened swords all over the place for some lunatic to pick up and cause carnage with.

      Freedom of expression/speech does not mean that we have to right to cause moral, emotional or physical harm to others or incite others through our words to deeds which might result in such an outcome. I think our whole civilisation has a warped view of freedom. We should have freedom of speech but no one should be free of responsibility for our words and actions. Censorship is too strong a word. We should have ‘reviewers’ that ask people to tone down their comments.

      • http://www.melchinger.com John Melchinger

        Angie, you are trying to be nice, but the thought police always lose. Regardless of how one exercises responsibility, it is accountability that rules: action > result > reaction. E.g., political speeches. Politicians promise a certain behavior/action > they are elected > we vote them in or out depending on whether we like their lies or deeds or looks. It is not linear logic; it is the emotional logic of being human and acting as we will in reaction to what we see, hear and experience. We can turn off anything we don’t like. If we took control of what we do ourselves, the hateful idiots, racists, evangelists, politicians and other authoritarians would never rise in popularity unless they had something worthwhile to say and then walked their talk. Phonies and fools are always outed. Teach your children well.

      • http://gigsandgames.com Martin

        Angie, I agree with every point you have very eloquently made, but I believe that keyboards are just as dangerous as sharpened swords, in the hands of those amongst us that have too much time on their hands, and like to try to be sensational. I am sure that a proper education could solve many of the problems caused by the few narrow minded bigots to whom freedom of speech is an invitation to inflame and anger. It is not big, and not clever but from an anonymous keyboard, they feel safe. Have a great day, Martin

    • http://www.goldor.info/ gold price in today

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    • http://gigsandgames.com Martin

      Where does censorship stop, and common sense take over? I do to a certain extent agree with censorship, especially when I see trending items like “White people stink” this can only incite hatred and prejudice, but it was trending for a very long while, and all concerned thought it funny. What if the said trend was reversed? There would have been an outcry if it was, and white people were saying something equally derogatory about black people. Racism and hate speech cannot be one-sided, and has,along with any other type of cyber-bullying, no place in any public forum, so yes, I believe it should be censored, along with bad spelling and grammar!
      There shouldn’t be any excuse for illiteracy, in this day and age, and it is one of the simplest ways to moderate the low-life comments, as most seem to emanate from people of very low intelligence. Perhaps the Google-God should filter content by spelling mistakes, and poor use of one’s mother tongue!
      Having got that off my chest, I am off to enjoy some succulent bacon, the aroma of which has been wafting into my airspace, and exciting my gastric juices!

      • http://www.onearmedseo.com OLIVER BODNAR

        awww bacon that offends me! HAHAHAHA! No, but really, censoring the idiots who say “white people stink” isn’t a good idea either…some white people do stink, some black people stink…it’s all about personal hygiene…when we all learn to clean ourselves well, there will be no need for censorship!

        p.s. There is no such thing as “reverse racism”…racism is racism! I know you didn’t mention that Martin, but the sub-text was there. :)

        • http://gigsandgames.com Martin

          Good point, Oliver. Intelligent people don’t have to read the exact words, the inference can be enough, I agree. I won’t offend anyone, because the shallow minded would not be bright enough to read between the lines, as you have! Sorry about the bacon, But I defend my right to eat pork, but do not discriminate against those who don’t. Oops, more between lines content for you. Have a great day, and thanks for your answer, Martin.

    • http://www.communitydayschool.com MichaelCain

      The exchange of ideas and information requires complete freedom to express ANYTHING. Fascists and the ignorant believe in censorship.

      • http://www.delishibusiness.com Arwen Taylor

        I agree that the free exchange of ideas require free speech. I do not think that social networks should act like people’s mothers and protect them from offensive things they may hear. OMG go to any blog or website that posts articles about politics and you will see much worse there than anything you will ever read on Twitter.

        People need to be adults and ignore the stuff they don’t like.

    • http://www.onearmedseo.com OLIVER BODNAR

      Should Social Media Censor “offensive content”? FUCK NO!!!

    • http://www.betheculprit.com Joshua brinckerhoff

      If social media site begin to regulate and censor topics they will become irrelevant to our use of them.
      True some people have opinions that I strongly disagree with. Sometimes I disagree so much that I would like those opinions to disappear because I feel that they are harmful. However if I state an opinion that is disagreeable to some I can be censored in the same manner.
      So the real questions become; who decides what is worthy of censorship and why? Who is controlling my personal use of media?
      Social media sites do have the “right” to allow or disallow any content they see fit. If they do start rigid censorship, I think that people will move on to greener pastures.

    • winnergirl

      Free speech is a constitutional right, not a business right, and companies such as twitter and facebook are free to delete or allow what they want. The control is always in the hands of the customers, if they don’t like the way a business is run they can not do business with that company. Some companies are so big that it is hard to no use or buy their services, so customers have to decide how much they want to do without. The day those 2,500 people who signed the petition delete their accounts instead will be the day you know that company has let things go too far, until then people will keep tweeting away, or people can start their own social networks with the rules they want, like forums do. Me, I don’t like the trash talk, but so long as it doesn’t encourage violence I ignore it, but I hardly use twitter anyway.

      • http://www.ientry.com/ Josh Wolford

        I guess it comes down to a business decision then. Would a service like Twitter or Facebook lose more members who are outraged by some of the content or who are outraged that they censored it?

    • http://www.melchinger.com John Melchinger

      Most people abhor violence and illegal acts. These values create the proper censorship for free speech. If free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it, what is free speech worth? Nothing until you no longer have it. Everything works this way. When law violates our principles, and corporate anal-retentive goody two shoes suits legislate outside existing laws, their revenue will drop and those bad laws will be ignored or repealed. It may take some time, but it is simple…and right. The will of the people wins.

    • LS Giles

      The topic may very well offensive to a great many people. However, did anyone stop to think that all the controversial comments left to the individual may have fueled his own fire of needing/wanting attention. The social networks censoring content would be similar to keeping its subscribers in prison and one wrong post landing the individual in solitary confinement. My vote is to censor yourselves. If you don’t like what you see move on. Don’t keep it going by complaining about it.
      We have all seen/done things in our lives that need to be put aside. My thoughts are that it is our own inner demons that keep the fires burning. If you feel the need to vent about things you see on the net, that is your own personal opinion. Keep it personal. Don’t publish it for the world to see/read. Sooner or later, as did the topic of all this controversy, it will all die down to less than a memory.

    • http://www.makersofmemories.org/ David Patterson

      I believe their is a place for freedom of speech but this hashtag is far from funny. Now here’s a harsh fact – 63% of all boys, age 11-20, who commit murder kill the man who was abusing their mother. I just hope this joke fades away and those that think it’s funny wake up to the truth of domestic violence.

      David
      Let’s stop the violence against children
      Makers of Memories

    • http://quitterscanbewinners.com Vic

      The best form of censorship is self control. Everyone has the ability to turn off the offending device be it the television, movies, the news or the internet.

      Where has eveyone’s common sense gone?

    • http://www.technicolorgoldfish.net Suzanne

      Almost anything could be considered offensive to someone out there. Once you start censoring tweets, where would it end? That particular trending topic at first glance seems to be a joke, not that violence is acceptable, but I don’t think having that as a trending topic actually makes someone say “hey, I’m going to go beat my wife”. Just like people are free to be in a relationship with whoever they wish, people need to be free to make jokes as well … if that particular type of humor is not your cup of tea, don’t click on the hashtag and risk being offended. At the very least this controversy helped bring out a discussion about domestic violence … and bringing things out in the open for discussion is what free speech is about.

      • http://www.ientry.com/ Josh Wolford

        Yeah…not every instance of people taking offense can be remedied by “growing a thicker skin,” but a lot of them can.

    • Rob

      No censorship. What I find offensive will be different than someone else. I should not be prevented from discussing a topic with other like-minded people regardless of how offensive someone else thinks it is. These days, anything that a particular group doesn’t like is labeled “Hate Speech” and attempts are made to prevent speech. In a free society, this is wrong.

    • Kurt R Marquardt

      I agree that domestic violence is nothing to joke about but to start censoring posts will lead us down a slippery slope that I for one am not willing to go down. As the saying goes “they came for the Jews but I didn’t care, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Blacks but I didn’t care because I wasn’t black. Then they came for the Poles but I didn’t care because I wasn’t polish. Now they are coming for me and there is no one there for me. Let the people have there say… what’s to say that the Federal Government won’t overstep there bounds and no one will be able to stand up to them because they have complete censorship control… oh wait that is already happening.

    • http://www.auction101.com Ken W Sinclair

      What Slippery Slope would that be ?
      Anyone who feels free to write Crap and place it out in public, should be prepared to eat some of it.

      • http://twitx.net twitx

        Neither the world in general nor social media in specific are black and white. It’s mostly shades of gray. At what point does censoring social media cross from blocking rudeness / encouragement of violence to stifling legitimate free speech? Social media played a vital roll in the recent political revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East. From one viewpoint, those words are illegal and dangerous. From another, they are cries for freedom. I’d hate to have to make that call.

    • Jack

      Websites decide for themselves what is execrable to them. Its called the “terms and conditions” not censorship.

      • Jack

        execrable = acceptable.

    • http://thomasrubas.com Thomas

      Who would judge what is offensive or not? It’s a fine line. Obviously foul language is not acceptable anywhere however certain topics may be offensive to some and not to others. Maybe they should add an extra “I find this offensive” button. If there were more “I find this offensive” than “likes” or “dislikes” then it could be removed.

    • http://www.sound-offpromotions.com Kevin

      ABSOLUTELY NOT! First who is the mediator? It’s bad enough the local print media does this. In America newspapers were never held to this standard, but the COWARDS that run these old rags these days seem to censor comments themselves because they are so desperate for revenue, mostly because they SUCK!

      The internet is great because it supports free speech. Here in America Obama and his thugs are trying to pass laws that would make the net less free. That’s what you get with a nanny state government.

      If you find something offensive don’t look at it, don’t listen to it. Leave the rest of us alone. I understand most of this is for the sake of children that’s the parents responsibility. You blanked for them, you babysit them!

      I am for the US Constitution and the 1st Amendment. I will always defend both.

    • http://www.sound-offpromotions.com Kevin

      Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
      deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. – Benjamin Franklin

      I stand by this quote!

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    • marcia frost

      I don’t know how you can call it “censorship” when soneone is tallking about committing violent crimes! There is no reason people deserve freedom of speech to commit violence.

      People should be allowed to express opinions, bit they don’t have the right to tell others how/why/when to cause physical harm. That is not censorship, it’s preventing acts of violence.

      • J S

        What if the tweet was “reasons to k*** your boyfriend?”
        would there be outrage be honest

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    • http://www.sebastyne.com Sebastyn

      I say limit but not censor. Topics like this should eventually die out anyway, but let’s just say that if it keeps trending for longer than 24 hours, then enough is enough. Everyone got their say, which ever stance they took on it and nobody will remember it 3 months from now.

    • http://www.socialmotus.com socialmotus

      Interest to know about social media censor, I think social media should be free speech.

    • Jerald Franklin Archer

      Certain individuals tend to be confused as to how to actually use free speech today. This usually depends on many factors, particularly their education level. True free speech entails that the individual is working towards educating another on a particular subject and working towards an intelligent solution to a problem.The greatest use of free speech is to correct error when one finds it, backing up their comments with evidence and sound references. If a debate ensues, there are rules that should be followed in order not to be guilty of offense to the beliefs or opinions of another. This is a lost art today that seems to have rendered most “free speech” into pointless opinions that do nothing for no one. Free speech is not granted to everyone everywhere, so the right is precious if one is able to have it.Those who know this truth often respect free speech the most.

      Free speech does not mean one may be free to say anything in a ranting, raving, hateful and pointless manner, but rather should show a level of intelligence that makes the comment worth the time to read. The comment should enhance the credibility of the poster themselves. The nobility of a human is best displayed by the way they express themselves, particularly through the written word. Most assuredly, free speech does not entail blasphemy or disrespect towards another persons beliefs or opinions. The total modern disregard for courtesy is a bad sign of a society that needs to either be quickly corrected on how and what to say, or else be denied altogether the ability to speak freely. The granting of free speech is not a right as much as it is a privilege, and like any privilege, it can be taken away if it is abused. Censorship (in public forums) is often necessary in situations that become outlandish, thus it preserves order and dignity. This could be the future if the present is not addressed properly.

      • Ron

        Sorry, Jerald. I must respectfully disagree on a couple of levels. “Free speech” doesn’t mean free speech for the educated, or the uneducated would have no voice. Nor does it mean free speech for Christians only, or Muslims only, or Jews only or Atheists only. Free speech is not tied, nor limited, by political, religious, monetary, or ideological boundaries.

        Free speech. Is. Free. Speech.

        You don’t have to listen. You don’t have to watch.

        But sometime you may learn something, even if the speaker is not educated, wealthy, or of the same theological bent as yourself.

        • Jerald Franklin Archer

          You are reading more into what I wrote than is really there.

          I have to admit that one should learn something everywhere and at all times as this procures wisdom and the experience to teach others. Yet, one sees the products of those errant posters and must surely ask “what it is being learned?”when it really seems that one would be more correct if they said “what is being taught?” This is why censorship exists: to correct errors.

          The worst thing a person can do is to become indifferent, as this condones the act of another and renders it as being their very own. To not correct an error is commit a sin of omission. As this is a widely condoned practice of the liberal and modernistic minded, we can now see the results in many aspects of the world today.We may attempt to correct these errors, but we will never see the job actually completed. This is a reality.

          Only a person who would care nothing for their fellow human being would not be concerned about these things. This is where some have a job to do and others will either learn that which is truly valuable or not. We all learn from each other, but what it it we are practicing? When common sense and moral fortitude (religious or otherwise, it is a discipline) is abandoned, one can be sure that the fall of a society is not far behind. Certain individuals are working to preserve this stability for everyone, not just for a few (everyone is responsible for their own actions).

          This often supposed “select” group is well aware of their position in society, but it is not by any means exclusive. They do not wear badges identifying themselves, but their actions speak for them. They get results where others fail. Some individuals fear them and this is fine, as the job still is getting done despite any attempt otherwise.

          The simple fact I was trying to make is that we are coming to a point where we could lose a precious privilege if we continue to abuse it and nobody would want that. This is a simple truth no matter what one professes religiously, politically, their education or economic level. You are absolutely correct in saying one may learn something. I have actually seen these things happen firsthand, so one truly does learn more by experiences than by any other method that has ever been employed in the history of man. The aware person takes control of situations before they get out of hand.

    • http://www.metanym.com/milton-keynes MarkFL

      Censorship will always be an interesting debate but to turn this on its head for a moment did you know that the French have banned the naming of social media sites on TV. Here’s my blog on the subject, would welcome your comments. http://www.metanym.com/french-tv-bans-the-words-twitter-and-facebook/

    • http://www.garious.com/ Aaron Eden

      Seriously, I think the argument about offensive content will go on for years… until we all have one belief, one culture and one view – which will never happen in reality. What can be offensive to some is totally acceptable to others, and vice versa. I think the question here is the EFFECT these posts have on people, emotionally and mentally. Then, we hear hate crimes simply because of what someone posted online. So, where do we really draw the line… if there’s physical violence involved? Your insights made sense and thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.simplyuniquebabygifts.com/ Pat

      Regarding freedom of speech: All of us are free – or none of us are free.

    • http://www.gooddealsonline.net Ty H

      I use only 1 social media site where I see ads, facebook. I sometimes remove ads & mark them as against my views, misleading, repetitive or other (with detailed explanation). Yet, the SAME ads keep popping up. So I then start removing them & marking as offensive. Guess what? They STILL pop up, the SAME ones!

      To answer the question: No, but when you have REPORTED it as offensive to you, they CERTAINLY should not continue to present them to you.

      • Sylvia Guillemette

        I think Facebook should allow you to choose if you wish to see “any” ads at all. Some people are just there to chat with friends.

        Sylvia

    • Sylvia Guillemette

      Define Offensive. You are going to get people who are offended by everything.

      Personally offensive to me means – foul language, being disrespectful of other people – of their race, color, religious beliefs, and other stuff; being verbally, physically, mentally and sexually abusive; violent, harassment, threatening, bullying, ect. … you get the general picture.

      YouTube has a link to report that offensive and violent stuff, but it isn’t as easy to find as it should be. I think Twitter should incorporate one too, but be right there if someone needs to find it.

      Thank you!

      Sincerely,

      Sylvia

    • http://www.prowebsitesolutions.ca Carol Anne Prosje

      Censorship is necessary. Without it, society loses its morals and values. Someone has to be a watchdog, otherwise what kind of an example are we setting for the next generation? If we allow social media to exploit and allow these things online, we will be sending the wrong message out to millions of vulnerable young people. Someone must be accountable or we are closing our eyes to reality. It would be like watching a crime and walking away because you didn’t do it.

    • https://www.searchen.com John

      Interesting topic for discussion with no clear resolution in sight. At the end of the day, opinions do have a right to exist both online and off. When that changes, so does the world in which we live.

    • Sonja

      It is free speak, on Internet or not! We have enough people telling us what to do or not to do! I wish everybody would let their heart speak!
      Out loud!! People on the internet are more honest because they can say everything, without people really knowing who said what!
      So, I am for FREE SPEAK!!!!!

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    • Spaz

      “Because it gets her hot and I always get lucky after”

      Come on that was funny. Just because I find offensive jokes funny doesn’t mean I approve of that same offensive behaviour.

      My favourite joke

      “What do you say to a woman with 2 black eyes?”
      “Nothing you’ve already told her twice.”

      That whole series of baby jokes that where going around a few years back bordered on going too far but some still made me laugh.

      When Micheal Jackson died how long was it before you recieved a joke about it on your phone? That can be considered offensive/insensitive but some of them were pretty funny.

      Some people just need to let it go and not bring extra attention to things they don’t like.

    • http://digitalproductsorderpoint.weebly.com Jesus Olvera

      I believe that the readers should control what is considered “trending topics”. Everything does not appear the same to everyone, so some may not like the topic while others will enjoy it. So a general rule which most follow is that of the “Majority Rule”. Thus, if the majority of readers do not feel that a topic is appropriate they should state their objections and leave it alone … and soon it should die. Nothing grows if it is not fed.

    • http://www.themethodofmadness.com/ Jonathan

      I agree with the author that trying to censor social media starts us down a path that no one really should go down. This is all free speech, and as Josh points out, the cornerstones of social media are authenticity and openness. For good or bad, these people are just being their authentic selves and sharing their questionable taste in humor. These things will eventually go away if ignored, and if these things do offend you, look the other way.

    • http://ddsdoggieboutique.com Deborah

      I too believe in freedom of speech, however when I’m on Facebook I find it really offensive for these dating popups to show up on my page and if you even get close to them with the mouse they open to even worse content. I use FB to keep in touch with friends and family and my grandchildren are also on there so I really feel like it should be cleaned up.

    • http://MyNextSmartphone.com Gary

      No Porn or invites to Adult porn sites & hookers! I have received invites to all and it pisses me off!

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