Thursday, May 7, 2015

The New Age of Censorship

In 2011, Google was asked by the US Government to delete over 6,000 web
Censorship: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
sites and blog posts all over the internet. Google responded to about 80% of all of the requests and they got more requests from other countries. Censorship has become a major debated issue in the past few years. With terrorist groups posting their beheading videos to cops killing people, many people agree with the idea of a censor on posts like these. With an increased activity of violence all over the world being put online, people are exposed to violence like we have never seen before. However, showing violent media on the internet should be a protected worldly right and should not be limited. Self expression online is a fundamental right that should not be tampered with by organizations especially the government. Showing violence on the internet is part of free speech online and should be allowed.

People should be able to show graphic videos to the public. In the US, there has been an increased number of cases dealing with police officers killing innocent people who they think are endangering them. Cases like the Michael Brown case in 2014 and recently, the Walter Scott killing, which was caught on video, have become a widely searched topic. Both of these events have received lots of press coverage, and Americans have become desensitized to this type of violence. The videos show acts of murder against innocent people that cops have committed. Many people such as parents don’t condone these videos of death being put on the internet, but it lets the public know what events are going on. In a survey taken by PoliceOne asking about body cameras, it was reported that 86.4 percent of all cops who took the survey agreed that cameras reduce “false claims and litigation”. That is a staggering number of police officers who agree with the body camera idea. It will be able to stop more crimes than ever before and solve disputes f whether a cop was treating a person fairly or not. With the implication of these cameras through, certain police stations have decided to make the videos taken by the body cameras public. Even though the people’s identities are confidential in the videos, the confrontations are public to the world. Although this could be threatening to a person's privacy, none of their identities are revealed and their reputation can't be ruined because no one knows who they are. Without a non-censored media, people would not be able to post stuff they want, whether people agree with that or not.

Not all people agree with my ideas, though, about a censorship free internet. The Chinese government has taken serious precautions to limit the people’s technological freedom on the internet, programs such as the The Great Firewall. The firewall, which acts like the infamous Great Wall of China, is designed to, “ hold off intruders in the digital age” (Inquisitr). This device along with the Great Cannon was implemented to stop the Chinese people from freely accessing the internet. The Chinese government does not want the people to see articles or other posts about them. If the Chinese people see this, then it could be very bad news for the government's popularity in the country. Another example of this is the request from governments and other people on Facebook requesting for violent videos to be taken down. With the recent rise in public executions such as the ISIS beheadings being posted publicly on the internet, people have become appalled with the act of people publishing these videos on sites such as Facebook. The social media’s policies regarding violent videos allow for the community to rout out possible videos and posts that violate their policy. Users of Facebook, though, have found it to be ineffective where most videos that ride the line of their policies don’t become blocked (BBC). The people of Facebook who say that they are scouring their site for videos to take down, don’t seem to think that some violent videos fall under their radar. After all, it is a person’s right to share videos that, “ . . . describe, depict and comment on the world” (BBC). The fact of the matter is that people may not agree with Facebook’s stand on videos depicting violence, and that it is their job to find the videos that violate their policies, but Facebook has an ethical responsibility not to crush a person’s freedom of speech on the internet.

Not all videos are meant to see the online world. They are too gruesome and hard to watch. Even though people might feel uncomfortable with these videos, it is their choice to watch or not watch them. The hierarchy of countries including many governments have put many restraints on what is eligible to post and what is not. It is our job to stand up for the people who are getting rejected for their right to post whatever they want on the internet. Without a structure where you are able to post what you want and not have your work be destroyed, people wouldn’t trust the media.

Conclusion, updated, 28 May. 2015

The blogs that the freshman class did this year were all fantastic and brought up concerning issues in our digital lives. I have a lot of fun creating my own blog about what censorship has become today. I had the opportunity to do a ton of research and to become immersed in my topic. What I learned from the other bloggers is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and whether I agree with their opinion or not, they have the right to say what they want about their chosen topic. I also learned how to actually write in blog format. I have been an essay writer all my life and making a paper without any double spacing or indented paragraphs was a shock. I managed through it just fine though. My original argument on censorship on the internet was that we need to have a free internet where everyone's voice could be heard and no one could limit what was being said. I decided to take such a strong stand on this topic because I wanted to see what people would comment on a topic that was so out there. After reading the comments my opinion on my thesis did change. I agree that some speech can go too far and speech like that should be limited. people sent me some great links in their comments that helped me understand what message they were trying to get across me. I learned about the differences in free speech and speech that is not covered by the law, and cases where hate speech has affected other people. Overall I had a really great time writing this blog. I could not be more happy about how it turned out and I really just want to keep writing.


  1. Hi Coley: I appreciate reading your strong position on the right of free speech in the face of violence and hate speech online. There is an interesting case in the news this week about the deaths that occurred at an anti-Muslim art contest in Texas. Here are two comment/letters to the editor on the need for free speech, even if it is hate speech. One supports your thesis that even the worst type of speech needs to be protected while the other states that some speech simply takes advantage of free speech to encourage violence, disrespect and destruction of diverse elements in society. What are you thoughts on these two points of view? Thank you for raising such a provocative and important topic in your blog post!--Ms. Riches

    1. Hi Jane Riches! Thank you for bringing up some great points about my blog post. To address your two points as I said in my thesis, freedom of speech is a fundamental right that should not be limited by any means. Although I do disagree with what some people say or post online or in the real world, in my opinion they are using their right to use speech freely. Thank you again for taking the time to look at and respond to my blog. -Coley

  2. Hello,
    I agree with what you are saying about the right of free speech in a censorship free Internet. Although I would have to say there is a limit to what you can show or not show in public like slander and nudity. I read this article about
    Censorship and Free Speech and I think is a strong arguement about your blog post.

  3. Hey Coley, your blog really made me think. Although I agree with the fact that based on the First Amendment you should be able to post or say whatever you want, I disagree that Facebook should allow it’s users to post violent images and videos. I believe this because millions of people go on social media everyday not to be disturbed by beheadings but to be able to see what their friends, family, and the most popular celebrities are up to these days. The reason why Facebook exists is because it has so many active users. If Facebook were to allow these violent videos, it would discourage people from using their site. The consequences are that people can’t share stuff with friends, Facebook loses money, and the companies that Facebook advertises for lose business. Written by USA Today, “The Family Online Safety Institute said such disturbing images "crossed a line" and could potentially cause psychological damage among Facebook users, who can be as young as 13.” Also, because Facebook is a private company, they are allowed to monitor the information that goes on their site. Contrary to the points in your argument, I believe that Facebook has the responsibility to take off violent images and photos to sustain the safe environment for millions of people around the world to safely communicate with each other. Thanks for posting- T. Flinderson

  4. Hello Coley. I'd like to start off by saying that I really enjoyed reading your post and the position that you took on this big topic. Although I do not agree with you on all points of this subject, I do think it is important to realize what having a censored internet would mean for us. Last week a 12 year old girl committed suicide because of the bullying she experienced online. Do you think that at least hateful comments such as these should be censored? Overall, you did a really nice job portraying your opinion and I appreciate your post. -Yasmine

    1. Hi Yasmine, thank you for bringing up such a great point about my blog post. I do think that hateful comments are very bad and that we should do something about them. I am still taking my stand though for a free internet. People posting hate comments should be censored, but social media sites already have a system where you can report comments for abuse and have a person's account suspended. Also, why didn't she just block these bullies from being able to abuse her like that? It was her responsibility to do something about the people wanting to hurt her online. It really saddens me reading about a young persons feeling so hurt, that they feel that they need to take their own life. I do believe though that it was her responsibility to do something about her situation. Thanks,


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