We have seen many cases, both in past history and recent news, when democratic nations have stepped in to control freedom of speech. In the United States, this is usually carried out as a protective measure when the safety of its people is in jeopardy.
Social media has played a key role in the freedom of speech vs. censorship debate. Everybody remembers SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act that was shot down by the House of Representatives earlier this year.
Twitter has been in the spotlight for instating its first form of local censorship. The website has decided to block pro-Neo Nazi tweets at the request of the German government. The Anti-Defamation League supports this decision, and adds that Twitter has a long way to go in the suppression of hate speech. However, many critics say it infringes on the right of free speech.
After World War II, Germany made it illegal to incite against people or advocate the overthrow of democracy. Twitter’s new policy only applies within Germany, not the rest of the world, and is in compliance with government standards.
Although I do not support the opinions of Neo-Nazis, I do believe in freedom of expression. However, Twitter is merely respecting the sovereignty of the German government. I would have to side with Twitter on this debate.