The European Parliament (EP) voted earlier this week to increase regulation of speech on the Internet, specifically targeting Google’s YouTube and Vimeo — platforms in which average citizens can share videos. The EP, the legislative body of the European Union (EU), has decided that some videos do not meet their standards.
The EP said it wants to protect its citizens from videos that use so-called hate speech and incitement to violence. While one can certainly understand a desire to curb incitement to violence, it is important to define what this actually means in practice. Perhaps of even greater concern is the prohibition against “hate speech,” which some in America have sarcastically defined as “speech that someone hates.” Opponents of “hate speech” usually define it as any speech that denigrates members of certain groups, based on subjects such as race or religion, or even “sexual orientation.”
According to the proposal voted on by the EP, video-sharing platforms such as You Tube will be required to take “appropriate, proportionate and efficient measures” to protect all the citizens in the EU from videos that contain incitements to violence or hatred or to undermining human dignity.
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