Free speech

Repeat a horrible lie on Twitter, pay $25,000: is that fair?

People retweet lies and errors on Twitter all the time. Are there special cases where they should be punished for doing so? That’s what happened in the UK, raising questions again about how to regulate speech on not just Twitter, but other sites where you can slander with a single click.

Twitter is safer in America: lessons from two sex scandals

Being falsely accused of a crime like child abuse is a traumatic experience that has become worse with social media. Two recent incidents in the US and UK highlight the problems — and show America’s approach to libel works better in the age of Twitter.

When does shaming racist kids turn into online bullying?

An article at Jezebel identifies high-school students who posted racist tweets in the wake of the election, raising a number of questions about what we consider to be an appropriate response to that kind of behavior, and when the cure is worse than the disease.

Why WikiLeaks is worth defending, despite all of its flaws

Most of the recent attention around WikiLeaks has been focused on the legal issues surrounding its controversial founder, Julian Assange. But we shouldn’t let that blind us to what the organization has accomplished and the critical role it plays as a “stateless news organization.”

Twitter comes clean, apologizes for NBC-gate

Twitter set off its first major public relations crisis this week when it suspended the account of a journalist who had been criticizing the social media site’s corporate partner, NBC, over its Olympic coverage. It is finally trying to fix things.

How to protect free speech online

As general counsel for Avvo, Josh King has responded to hundreds of lawsuit threats — all for activity that is soundly protected by the First Amendment. Here, King outlines three areas where he believes companies can take a stand to protect free speech on the Internet.

Employees, you may now speak (more) freely on social media

The National Labor Relations Board has bad news for employers that want to restrict their employees’ speech rights on social media. Employers can either update their policies to allow for the same types of speech the NLRA allows elsewhere, or they can find themselves in court.

If we are all journalists, should we all be protected?

The case of “investigative blogger” Crystal Cox reinforces that some governments are lagging behind when it comes to extending freedom-of-the-press protections to non-traditional journalists like bloggers. When anyone can be a journalist, how do we decide who gets protection and who doesn’t?

Looks like Congress has declared war on the internet

A new copyright bill proposed in the House would give governments and private corporations unprecedented powers to remove websites from the internet completely, on the flimsiest of grounds, and would also force internet service providers to play the role of copyright police or face penalties.

Should Free Speech Cover Books on Pedophilia?

Amazon has refused to remove a book from its Kindle store despite criticism from hundreds of commenters on the self-published title, which advocates pedophilia. The retailer says it doesn’t believe in censorship, and that customers should be free to buy such books if they wish.