‘Alt-right’ co-opting First Amendment in spreading their message

As the neo-Nazis a.k.a. alt-right use the internet to recruit young people and spread their doctrine, it falls to private enterprise to decide on what’s acceptable, a disturbing challenge to the vitality of free speech online. Is censorship of neo-Nazi speech online essential to curbing violence or is it generating sympathy for their cause and just driving them to deeper recesses of the internet. Private internet companies should closely follow the law in limiting speech inciting illegal activity and clearly delineate contractual obligations for using their platforms. (Harvard Political Review, October 2, 2017, by Lex Mealey)

There is considerable concern that the neo-Nazis use free speech as a shield to hold demonstrations at which they would clash with left wing individuals prone to using violence against the right. They would then posture as victims to exploit the encounter. The right also capitalizes on concerns about censorship when government bodies and sponsoring groups cancel events out of fear of violence. (McLean’s, May 1. 2017, by Alheli Picazo)

Milo Yiannopoulos, former Breitbart editor, pioneered the right’s use of the First Amendment to advance their cause. He incited his online followers to harass actor Leslie Jones, denied he could control the harassment and after he was kicked off Twitter claimed that “Twitter just declared war on free speech.” (Wired, September 28, 2017, by Emma Grey Ellis)

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