Week 3

When does free speech on social media sites go too far?

Paula Wolf

Section: Cope


Global Now: Abstract

Headline:  When does free speech on social media sites go too far?

Date:  9/12/2012

Source:  New York Times


These days all of us live on social media sites sharing our thoughts, pictures, and videos.  Typically used harmlessly, spaces like Facebook and Youtube are outlets for sharing views and building a community.  With the web we are able to communicate with peers across the globe, but with this freedom also comes the ability to offend others and instigate violence.  The recent assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Libya is said to have been brought on by an American Youtube video, which outraged Muslims with its anti-Islam message. The New York Times writes, “The amateurish video opens with scenes of Egyptian security forces standing idle as Muslims pillage and burn the homes of Coptic Christians. Then it cuts to cartoonish scenes depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a child of uncertain parentage, a buffoon, a womanizer, a homosexual, a child molester and a greedy, bloodthirsty thug.”  As disturbing as this video already sounds, what is worse is that the actors were not even aware of what they were making: “An actress who played the role of a mother in the film said in an interview that the director had originally told cast members that the film was ‘Desert Warriors’ and would depict ancient life. Now, she said, she feels duped, angry and sad.”  This article points out that the ability to share ones views in an instant has a dark side.  While free speech is an important American value, the ability to spread hate through social media is worrisome.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/world/middleeast/origins-of-provocative-video-shrouded.html?pagewanted=2&ref=middleeast

Global Issue:  Political protest

Primary Design Lens:  Film

Secondary Design Lens:


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