Twitter, Reddit, and the Battle Over Freedom of Speech

Where should freedom of speech begin and end when you are a Web-based entity with a global audience? That’s the question raised by a couple of recent events, including the furor over a Reddit moderator’s creepy behavior and now the news that Twitter has blocked an account for the first time at the request of a state government—in this case, Germany, which asked the service to take action against a Twitter user posting neo-Nazi sentiments, something forbidden by the laws of that country. As the Web and social tools become more mainstream, these kinds of battles over the limits that should apply to free speech are only going to become more frequent, but the solution to them remains elusive at best.

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