Justice Louis Brandeis of the US Supreme Court once said “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
This is often used to justify “more speech” as the only solution to “hate speech.”
In November, as parliamentarians and experts from over 40 countries gathered in Canada for the second meeting of the Interparliamentary Coalition for Combatting Anti-Semitism, there was a growing concern at rising anti-Semitism, and an increased acceptance that more than sunlight was needed in response.
At the gathering, I presented as part of an experts panel on hate speech online. One point I raised was the problem of YouTube videos that do not by themselves constitute hate, but which attract hateful comments.
An example I gave was a YouTube clip of Sacha Baron Cohen’s song “Throw the Jew Down the Well.”
The most popular comment on the video the morning I presented, as voted by YouTube viewers, read: “Lets [sic] genocide them by burning them! But this time, lets [sic] actually do it.”
Should Sacha Baron Cohen or YouTube take this clip down if this is what it inspires? Should the comments be closed to viewers? The answer is unclear, but allowing this to continue is not a good thing and seeing how popular it is leaves me feeling very uncomfortable.
THERE IS also a clear problem with hate groups, such as “theytnazism” on YouTube.