Right-wing conspiracy nut Alex Jones has recently been banned from Facebooks, Youtube, and other sites for violating their hate speech policies.
According to an article published by PolitiFact:
“What sparked their removal? The idea is similar throughout: Jones violated the social media platforms’ hate speech policies.
“Facebook defines hate speech as “a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability. We also provide some protections for immigration status. We define attack as violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.” Youtube has a similar definition.”
My question is this:
By banning hate speech, have these sites put themselves in jeopardy because they have now set a precedent by which they have made themselves liable for content? Sites hosting public forums typically claim that they are exempt from allegations that they are liable for publishing defamatory content because they are like the telephone company, which merely provides a channel of communication.
But by banning certain content, have the sites banning Jones now undercut that argument?