Facebook and the very fine line between free speech and hate speech


It’s clear to many people, and obviously to Facebook(s fb) itself, that the company mishandled the process for removing gender-based hate speech on the social network. The company wrote in a blog post Tuesday that it would be re-evaluating its policies as a result, and has resolved to “do better” in the future.

But even as activists call for Facebook to take action on removing hateful speech from the platform, others will surely criticize the company for making judgment calls when it comes to deciding what is hate speech and what is simply offensive content. Making this call is a challenge, as Facebook has demonstrated. Even in Facebook’s post on Tuesday, it explained that there’s plenty of distasteful or offensive content on the site, but not all of it deserves to be taken down unless it specifically encourages real-world violence or qualifies as hate speech, which can be a challenging…

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