• Matthew Diemer

The 1st Amendment & Hate Speech

Updated: Sep 19, 2021

This week, we’re talking about technology and how it’s changed the landscape of our laws, especially when it comes to the first amendment.

Yesterday, I pointed out how hard it is for the government to regulate new technology in a way that makes sense, and I asked for your opinion.

So what do you think?

Also, what do you think about chipping in to my campaign?


Today, I want to talk about social media and hate speech-- a pretty thorny topic, that once again, I hope you’ll contribute your thoughts to.

Hate speech has a long, interesting history in the United States, especially because our first (and some would say most important) amendment to the constitution is the protection of free speech.

I think this wikipedia article gives a pretty good overview:

Basically, hate speech is not a legal concept in the US, and it’s a pretty contentious topic, especially since the types of speech that are not protected by the first amendment sometimes seem open to interpretation (barring a couple, of course).,law%2C%20true%20threats%2C%20and%20commercial

And with the proliferation of social media (and the hate speech on it), has come a proliferation of free speech issues.

The difference between publisher and platform, what kinds of speech count as “incitement,” true threats, what counts as commercial… all of this has become a quagmire that feels impossible to navigate. But if we want to have a society where people (and speech) have equal protection under the law, we need to draw some lines.

And as social media becomes more essential to our daily life, how we communicate with each other, and how we consume news, the importance of delineation only grows.

What do you think? I want to make sure that when I head into Congress, I head in with an idea of what everyday Americans think should happen with emerging technology, and our responsibilities to each other.

Social media platforms are already taking a stand, and now they are the ones defining hate speech for us. But how do we reconcile the fact that these platforms are abjuring responsibility for what’s published on them, and also adjudicating what is published on them? Is that a contradiction or not?

Here’s an interesting article about the issue:

Let me know what you think! Reply to this email, or find me on social media to discuss social media, haha. (Links below.)

While you’re at it, would you click on over to my donation page, and chip in to my campaign?


Looking forward to digging into these discussions with you!