The Question of First Amendment Rights

    “Silicon Valley is finally cracking down on white supremacists,” said Rob Price in In the aftermath of the violent rally in Charlottesville, VA, technology companies have blocked web access for groups catering to neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and other “alt-right” factions that have flourished online. Facebook and Twitter have deactivated accounts belonging to prominent white supremacists, and services like ApplePal, PayPal and GoFundMe have cut off payments to hate groups. Web-hosting service GoDaddy said it would no longer support the Daily Stormer, an infamous neo-Nazi website, which was quickly blocked by Google as well. Even the steadfastly anti-censorship CloudFlare, which protects websites against cyberattacks, cut off support for the Daily Stormer. “It’s a significant change of heart” for an industry that has long positioned itself as a staunch defender of free speech, no matter how reprehensible. but after Charlottesville, Silicon Valley appears to be at a “tipping point.” Part of me cheered! I know social media is the way the haters have found one another. It is not like I know nothing about the KKK. But, part of me was disturbed. When I was teaching I remember teaching about neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and the KKK. I wanted students to see how haters used propaganda, how they sucked in those who were looking for something to believe in. I wanted students to see what a danger these people are to our government and many in our population. Well, my school district blocked those sites so we could not use the Internet for our study. The haters did not go away, but my students didn’t learn about their hate and the power that hate has. When we said that there should be no Confederate flags flying, the haters didn’t go away. When they pull down Confederate statues, the haters don’t go away. We need to find a way to deal with the reason people hate. Otherwise they go back underground and they work from there.

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