Facebook Flips on Holocaust Denial

Slate's If Then


If you're American, you probably think of free speech as the default. Just the way things are. And I. Don't know where it enters the stuff. I don't know if it's in the water or if it's in the kindergarten curriculum Evelyn. Is Not American, but it's only something that I have encountered faith in years is just like first amendment fundamentalism she's an Australian who lives in Massachusetts and she's one of most dynamic and nuanced thinkers. Online speech. She lectures at Harvard Law School. You came here to study kind of First Amendment Law to look at this stuff. As an outsider, what was your impression of the US fundamental adherence to free speech? I feel a little bit like gas lit as a foreigner when you come to America. As I did for years ago to Study Comparative Constitutional, Law, and free speech One of the most striking things about American free speech doctrine is this like this example of there were Nazis that wanted to march in skokie. I know jumping straight to Nazis his kind of leaping into the free speech depend. But Evelyn's describing one of the most famous first amendment cases when that really tests American values, the story goes like this. In one, thousand, nine, hundred, a group of neo-nazis wanted to march in the Chicago suburb of skokie Illinois largely because a lot of Holocaust survivors lived there seven thousand concentration camp survivors living in the predominantly Jewish Chicago suburb of skokie not surprisingly, there was a huge legal fight cokie officials a block Nazi demonstrations with court injunctions when the Nazis appealed to the State Supreme Court a judge has refused to hear the case. But what might surprise you if you don't know the story is that the American Civil Liberties Union indeed a lawyer with the ACLU defended the Nazis right to March under the First Amendment saying the right to free expression with integral to who we are as a country. It's just such an iconic story of the literal Nazis were going to be allowed to marching the street and as a foreigner you come here, new learn that and normally deland that it's it's not like these inconvenient embarrassment about Assessment Amendment Law. It's this like really proud one of the truly great victories for the First Amendment was that it will protect the speech that we hate because it is you know Betta to have it out in the urban it's better to meet it with county speech and we just can't trust the government to suppress as an Australian very striking. I don't even have a right to free speech. We don't have a bill of rights and our Constitution it's it's like a completely foreign idea this fight over unfettered free speech and in fact, where it collides with Anti Semitism and Holocaust denial broke into the news cycle again, this week, there's a split screen like the Supreme Court confirmation hearings going on on one side, and then on the other side facebook releases a blog post the company which has always said it values free expression above everything else announced that it would ban any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust. Two days later, twitter did the same thing. It might seem like banning Holocaust denial is a pretty easy call, but it was only a few years ago that facebook said, it wouldn't prohibit Holocaust to nihilism on its platform. which is part of why and says, this is a really big deal I. think this is like a really iconic moment in the history of the company and its thinking and

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