Social media giants are taking a giant step by banning some hate groups and their messages. Others promise to do the same following the deadly violence in Charlottesville.
The Occupy Movement, Anonymous and Black Lives Matter all have used the same social media platforms for their messages and movements.
It is not against the law to talk about violence or to use vitriolic language. But some social media sites say what happened this past weekend simply was too much and went too far.
The masses were summoned to Charlottesville over the weekend by social media. A ‘Unite the Right’ poster was plastered across open social media platforms and even had its own Facebook page days before the rally.
“Facebook is the public forum, the town square of our time,” said David Coale, a constitutional law expert. “And anyone who has a message to deliver takes it there and packages it and tries to get people to come to their event.”
The violence in Virginia is now being investigated as domestic terrorism that was fueled by hate speech.
“What is called hate speech is protected under our first amendment,” Coale said.
But both GoDaddy and Discord shut down hate groups on their services Monday. Mark Zuckerburg is vowing the same for Facebook.
“When Mark Zuckerburg says he's going to do x, y and z as to hate speech, he can pretty much do x, y and z as to hate speech,” Coale said. “The first amendment is a check on the government’s actions, not on the actions of private companies.”
The conversation is now whether hate groups and their speech should be protected or is it trash that should be thrown away.
“Talking in a violent way, talking about revolution, that’s permissible because that kind of language is often used by people who are advocating radical social change,” Coale explained.
Paul Quinn College President Dr. Michael Sorrell says we should not have to fight this fight again.
“If we're gonna continue to be reactionary where we're saying we're gonna keep you from being able to communicate with each other, we're missing the bigger picture,” he said. “I think the question should be how do we root out these beliefs and educate them away.”
Sherman Redmond is Student Government Association President at Paul Quinn College. The 20-year-old says not social media but old ideology caused Charlottesville.
“I feel like it’s sparked a fight in people my age, millennials especially, that we can’t let this happen again,” he said.
Congress shall make no law, but private companies can draw their own lines. For now, big social media moguls are moving to draw hate groups outside the lines of acceptance.