Westchester attorney thinks Facebook wrong to silence racist KKK group

This Westchester attorney wonders if silencing the messenger really eradicates the hate mongering disseminated by certain groups or does it merely add gas to the fire?

Apparently there was a racist, Aryan-nation-like group on Facebook recently, calling itself Isle of Man KKK (how original). The name was based on their location and their racist beliefs similar to the Ku Klux Klan, that their incestuous little world should remain white and free of foreigners. Some 95 members joined up – gotta give the group credit – that’s more than Lady Litigator has on her Facebook page right now.

Anyway, Facebook was alerted and shut them down. My question to Facebook is why?

I was raised by a very liberal mother and an ultraconservative father (who eventually mellowed with age), so I guess you would say that I am somewhere in the middle. Yet, as a journalist first and an attorney second, I am a zealot for freedom of speech, a cornerstone of the American way of life.

Shall we silence the message simply because we disagree with it or shall we allow it to resonate in the open so that we may engage in an intelligent discourse and debate? I prefer discourse and debate. Maybe, just maybe, we would then be able to convince at least one of those 95 individuals that their racist beliefs are wrong for them………and wrong for the world.

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4 thoughts on “Westchester attorney thinks Facebook wrong to silence racist KKK group

  1. Must every social networking forum offer 1st amendment like protection? If a great majority of folk find something offensive shouldn’t a private entity be able to protect their investment from things that detract from its utilization? I might be wrong, but Facebook is a private entity and their right to its use should be on their terms. Not everyone is as open-minded as you are, whether thats good or bad is irrelevant. Whoever Facebook allows to make the decision to permit or prohibit something should have that right as a private entity. The racists you mention still have plenty of access to distribute their message of hate in traditional forums. Can you limit your conversations with them about their beliefs to those locations, instead of tainting a private entity’s forum with hate when it is based on fun and entertainment?

    • Hi Todd – you make an intelligent argument and I agree that a private entity should be allowed to control who subscribes to it; however, Facebook itself is pandering to public outcry over changes on its site with regard to privacy, archival copies, etc., stating that the users will have a say in its corporate governance (so how private do they want to be?). Therefore, I believe it’s discriminatory for them to only listen to “some” of their users and not all equally. You can’t have it both ways.

  2. Most Internet communities forbid hate speech on their Terms of Service. When you sign up for AOL, Facebook or Yahoo! Groups you have to agree to those terms or you get no account.

    • Yes, Phil, you are correct but most social networking sites also say that you are prohibited from posting anything obscene yet that doesn’t seem to stop them from taking down all of the soft-porn applications which are on Facebook, MySpace, etc. They seem to have selective enforcement and what I am suggesting is that in order for it to be a true social networking platform that they allow everyone a right to be heard and then let the marketplace decide.

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