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Foul Language and Censorship: Who decides what can be said online?

  1. Aug 6, 2010 #1
    Offensive language gets a reprieve from Court of Appeals, but rules are still vague in virtual world Terms of Use policies.http://stats.wordpress.com/b.gif?host=virtualnavigator.wordpress.com&blog=11498882&post=153&subd=virtualnavigator&ref=&feed=1

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2010 #2


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    I'm curious what the basis for regulation is in the first place, that would make the question relevant.

    (I'm not being sarcastic -- I genuinely don't know and am curious)
  4. Aug 6, 2010 #3
    The cited case and your question have no correlation. The 2nd circuit ruled only that the FCC rules governing unplanned profane outbursts on live television were to arbirtrary to be constitutional.

    What does this have to do with "who decides what can be said online"? The FCC has no regulatory authority over the internet (it is a private network, unlike public broadcasts).

    In the case of terms of use policies for private content on private networks, there is no public interest. The government cannot regulate speech in either direction (either filtering or protecting content).
  5. Aug 7, 2010 #4
    I dont see this as a problem in any way. Private sites on internet will choose their own censorship policy. It's only natural.

    Even here at physiscs forums you have a great deal of rules and censorship on certain type of posts. So it seems that the owner of the site gets to say "what gets to be said online" :P
  6. Aug 7, 2010 #5
    That would be interesting if courts started accepting lawsuits against online forums for censorship and discrimination. I wonder how that would alter internet discussion forums. I wonder if lawsuits would emerge just for the sake of targeting lucrative hosts. I wonder if the government could simply use anti-trust to split up web forum "monopolies" by requiring content to be reproduced among several sites - e.g. if physicsforum.com would violate anti-censorship policies, the govt. could just require physicsforum.com to turn over its content to another host, essentially replicating the site and its content history to someone else who would agree to conform to govt. policies. This is a strange and complex concept.
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