At a time when the internet is highly developed, and the internet is highly popular. Because of its ability to cross international boundaries and reduce the distance between countries and people is widely used by people. And various social media platforms have emerged, which is a fair platform to provide an unrestrained environment for interpersonal communication, communication, and sharing. This highly liberal environment has inevitably led to the emergence of a variety of expressions, including good expressions but also containing many negative messages, such as Bullying, harassment, violent content, hate, porn and other problematic content, as mentioned in the title of the article. The online world, which is not bounded by national or regional borders, has led to a series of discussions on the management of negative expressions. Who should be responsible for managing these issues, what can be done to eliminate or reduce these negative statements, what can be done to manage these without affecting the correct information or knowledge, and what can be done to accomplish these while ensuring respect for users and respect for freedom. The above questions will be the focus of this paper.
There are many difficulties in network management, the IP address of the website may not be in the country, which makes it very difficult to track down the website across borders, and the laws and regulations of each country are different from each other, so the management cost becomes a big problem. So the cost of regulation may not be great, but it is not small either and because of the rapid development of contemporary networks according to Hong’s article “Social media in particular owes its meteoric rise not least to the targeted exploitation of the psychology of human group formation and of our basic hunger for social networking and recognition (Hong, 2022)” and social media’s Fake news, exaggerated headlines, and misguided forums, all of which are born in the process of self-media development, have led to a growing demand for traffic as time goes on, and the benefits of traffic have increased, which has led to confusing information that has very good reason to develop
This paper will analyze the regulation of bad speech and information in two different countries for comparison. forbidding almost any regulatory state action, but at the same time leaving private actors (like social media corporations) completely free to wield their (econ- omic) power to restrict speech (Hong, 2022).” This U.S. law has led many websites or groups to choose the U.S. as their safe haven to escape the blocking of their accounts and speech in other countries. In Reid’s article, it is mentioned that “while freedom of speech is important, hate speech can limit political voice in some cases, so regulation of speech is necessary (Reid, 2019). Such laws and regulations to restrict hate speech should be established as part of the right to freedom of speech, which means that people can have freedom of speech but not bad speech, and the bill needs to make a good balance between freedom of speech and restricting hate speech. There was a classic negative example last year, the riots caused by Donald Trump in early 2021, where bad information caused chaos and real harm to people and economic losses, and eventually many people died, lost their hearts and minds, and incited emotions that sent several people to jail. And after that Trump’s Twitter account was permanently blocked by Twitter officials, whose reason was to prevent Trump from continuing to incite people’s emotions and cause riots. This also demonstrates how social media platforms can regulate bad speech by blocking accounts and ignoring The First Amendment’s protection of free speech, which the U.S. government cannot directly regulate or intervene in. Not only does this demonstrate the dangers of bad speech, but Trump’s banning also serves as evidence that social media needs to be better regulated.
The French approach to regulating social media is diametrically opposed to the American approach. The most direct way to reduce the spread of negative information is to regulate the users of social media platforms or to control similar topics. On top of that, regulations or laws should be put in place, and in addition to that, factors such as respect for users should be considered. According to James’ theory in his paper, there are two parties that can intervene and fix these problems, one is the social media platform company that hires people to do the work, and the other is the national government that intervenes and removes bad speech. The government can require social media platforms to remove undesirable information, and the government can use specific or systematic methods to regulate it (Hochmann, 2022)”. This is a side-effect of the French regulatory direction, which is to protect freedom of expression while suppressing undesirable speech. And later France also set up the Avia law, and the specific practice is to require social media platforms to delete bad speech within 24 hours, otherwise they will be punished. The downside of course is that this could lead to excessive blocking, and then in 2021 the law was changed to strengthen respect for users and increase the penalties if social media platform regulators do not work hard, in Chandler’s report, “The French government will demand a fine of 1.25 million euros because of vague rules and high fines. Because of the vague rules and the high fines, social media platform companies are forced to do more deletions and delete the wrong good speech without penalty, so social media platform companies would rather delete most of them than miss one (Chandler, 2020)” This has greatly restricted the freedom of speech of the people and caused a high level of discontent among the masses, and in the video, Marine Le Pen also expresses her complaint about the Avia Law https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-hx1h4bMm4.
The original meaning of freedom of expression is the right of people to say what others don’t like to hear, but now the meaning has been twisted to “people can say whatever they want with or without adverse effects” under the development of some platforms. The meaning of freedom of expression is the right of people to say what others don’t like to hear. It seems that regulation in both countries is not very good, one is over-regulated, with the state taking the matter very seriously and regulating it highly, and the other is regulated only when there is a huge problem, and is left almost entirely to the social media platforms. Perhaps the best answer to these questions lies somewhere in between, with the state taking the matter seriously in the first place and working with social media platforms to plan and cooperate to reduce bad speech and protect users’ freedom of expression. In Banks’ article, he also gives suggestions and approaches beyond the theoretical ones, “IPS user agreements, user end software and hot lines – the harm caused by online hate can be diminished. Moreover, through the careful integration of law, technology, education and guidance, a reduction in the dissemination and impact of online hate speech can be achieved without adversely affecting the free flow of knowledge, ideas and information online (Banks, 2010).” Of course this is not as well achieved as the theory, and it will take a long time of experimentation and empathetic cooperation between countries, governments, and social media platforms, while ensuring freedom of expression and respect for users. It will also take a long time to overcome the problems of different laws and customs in different regions and countries in order to achieve the goal of reducing undesirable speech, and it will take a long time to try and cooperate for the current situation.
Hong, M. (2022, January 2). Regulating hate speech and disinformation online while protecting freedom of speech as an equal and positive right – comparing Germany, Europe and the United States. Journal of Media Law, 14(1), 76–96. https://doi.org/10.1080/17577632.2022.2083679
Reid, A. (2019b, May 6). Does Regulating Hate Speech Undermine Democratic Legitimacy? A Cautious ‘No.’ Res Publica, 26(2), 181–199. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11158-019-09431-6
Banks, J. (2010, October 29). Regulating hate speech online. International Review of Law, Computers &Amp; Technology, 24(3), 233–239. https://doi.org/10.1080/13600869.2010.522323
Hochmann, T. (2022, January 2). Hate speech online: the government as regulator and as speaker. Journal of Media Law, 14(1), 139–158. https://doi.org/10.1080/17577632.2022.2085014
Chandler, S. (2020, May 14). French Social Media Law Is Another Coronavirus Blow To Freedom Of Speech. Forbes. Retrieved October 14, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonchandler/2020/05/14/french-social-media-law-is-another-coronavirus-blow-to-freedom-of-speech/?sh=3f6f911a703c
Cassius. (2020, May 23). Marine Le Pen denounces France’s new online hate speech law, French with English subtitles [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved October 14, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-hx1h4bMm4