Do Social Networks Have an Obligation to Remove Hateful Content?

Do Social Networks Have an Obligation to Remove Hateful Content?

Do Social Networks Have an Obligation to Remove Hateful Content?

Americans and the World at large have watched and been stunned as more and more groups have rioted and killed over a video that was posted to YouTube.

On Friday, Sept. 14 the White House asked that the video be removed. According to Mashable, "The Obama administration has "reached out to YouTube to call the video to their attention and ask them to review whether it violates their terms of use," Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council, told the Washington Post on Friday."

Google, despite YouTube guidelines which prohibit "hate speech", has refused the request. YouTube's terms of use define hate speech as "speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity."

Every social network and user content community must face the same basic question. At what point is freedom of speech no longer applicable? When a user or group of users decide to push the lines of social norms, at what point should moderators step in? Do you agree or disagree with Google's decision?


Mike is a Social Media Consultant and Blog Coach in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.

Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management" and "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile."

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