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Where Does Free Speech End and Good Taste Begin?

There is a petition being circulated that asks Facebook to take down a page that has offensive language relating to the Sandy Hook shooting. So far, however, Facebook has not done so.

The First Amendment right to free speech is so often touted now that the true meaning has got lost somewhere in the translation. Simply put, it prohibits congress or the government from restricting free speech. However, it does not prevent an organization like Patch, or Facebook, from making rules of what it will or won’t allow to be “spoken” on it’s airwaves.

A petiton on Facebook at the moment is asking for an offensive post related to the Sandy Hook tragedy be taken down. The administrator of the page, which is named Going to MacDonalds for a salad roll is like going to a brothel for a hug, claims that someone else posted it while he was distracted. He says now his page has been restricted and he can’t remove it. But people aren't buying his explanation. By Thursday, more than 100,000 people had already signed the petition asking Facebook to remove the post.

The petition says that Facebook initially claimed that it can't remove it because it doesn’t violate Facebook's terms of use. However, Facebook has been known to remove postings that some people found offensive, such as postings by Navy Seals that were critical of the president.

So is this a First Amendment issue or should Facebook take the offensive post down? Is keeping it up in the name of free speech a misinterpretation of what the First Amendment is all about?

Randall Creech December 21, 2012 at 01:54 PM
This isn't a 1st Amendment issue, this is a Facebook issue. Facebook has freedom of choice. They will either CHOOSE to leave it up or they will CHOOSE to take it down. It is as simple as that.
Sharon Swanepoel December 21, 2012 at 02:47 PM
My understanding of the 1st Amendment exactly Randall. It is thrown out as an excuse for anybody to feel they can say anything they want to anywhere they want to now and not face any consequences. We believe now that we don't have to face life consequences for anything that we do or say anymore. I'm a firm believer in the 1st Amendment, but in the true sense.
Tammy Osier December 21, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Both said it well.
Jeffrey Allen December 21, 2012 at 05:44 PM
It's out there now, forever on the internet. Not much you can do about it. Banning it won't make it just go away...by drawing attention to it, all that has happened is now more people have seen it. Still, Facebook reserves enough rights about that kind of thing...they can and should remove it. Hopefully nobody affected has seen it yet. Oh, and I hope whoever wrote it steps on TWO legos. What an awful thing to post.
Paul L. Dragu December 22, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Why is this even a conversation? Bad taste, or offense, does not go beyond the 1st Amendment. And as the first 2 posts said, this is up to Facebook. There are no security issues of any kind nor does it in any way, incite violence. Whoever makes this an issue has just revealed that their life is very boring.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew December 23, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Facebook is really NOT “free”, its driven by contact volume for ad revenue so more hits equals more cash… Might increase “issue” response times just a tad.
Randall Creech December 23, 2012 at 02:57 PM
@R Nothing is really "Free". Everything will cost you something. Whether it is money, time, effort, etc.

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