Volume 11, Issue 5 - October 2016Print | Email

Tolerating Extreme Speech on Social Media

Vol 11-5 F 2 MAIN 

In the world of digital media, giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube commonly remove extreme or harmful speech from their platforms after individual users have “flagged” that speech posted by other users, who have no First Amendment rights against these companies. This power over public discourse in the hands of Facebook and Twitter representatives and users raises concerns regarding online freedom of expression. In his recent essay, Brett G. Johnson of the University of Missouri asks how First Amendment principles can be applied to assess this system of private governance of extreme speech.


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Cross Current

Determining Free Speech in Court: When Does Interpretation Play a Role?

Vol 11-5 CC1 2 

In the fall of 2010, a pair of female middle school students were found to be in violation of their school’s dress code policy when they began wearing the Keep a Breast Foundation’s “I ♥ Boobies” wristbands to school. While the students claimed they wore the wristbands to educate, show support, and open a dialogue about women’s bodies in a non-sexual context, school administrators deemed the wristbands sexually provocative and inappropriate.


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A Demoted Detective, 10 Angry Teachers, and Ghosts of Hobby Lobby: The Supreme Court’s First Amendment Decisions from the 2015–2016 Term

Vol 11-5 CC 2 1 

A review of Supreme Court First Amendment decisions in the 20152016 term by Juliet Dee, Ph.D.


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Dropping and Legalizing the “Information Bomb”

Vol 11-5 T 2

The relationship between speech and violence has been a continual object of study and attention in philosophy. Traditionally, the two have been characterized as strongly distinct but more recent areas of contemporary rhetorical, social, and media theory have attempted to fuse the two.


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Communities Respond to Westboro Baptist Church’s Hate Speech

Vol 11-5 T 2 2According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), there were 892 active hate groups operating in the United States in 2015. Among these is the Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kansas, which has made a name for itself with anti-LGBT rhetoric, picketing of LGBT funerals, and, most recently, picketing at military personnel funerals. 
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Instructor’s Corner: Five Resources for Free Speech Week

Vol 11-5 T 3 2

Free Speech Week (October 17–23) offers great opportunities for instructors and students to explore the history and importance of freedom of expression. Check out these five links with general information and classroom ideas for this annual event.


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Home Page | Tolerating Extreme Speech on Social Media | Determining Free Speech in Court: When Does Interpretation Play a Role? | A Demoted Detective, 10 Angry Teachers, and Ghosts of Hobby Lobby: The Supreme Court’s First Amendment Decisions from the 2015–2016 Term  | Dropping and Legalizing the “Information Bomb” | Communities Respond to Westboro Baptist Church’s Hate Speech | Instructor’s Corner: Five Resources for Free Speech Week 
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