Containing Its Spread on the Internet
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
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Emboldened by anonymity, individuals and organizations from both left and right are freely spewing hateful vitriol on the Internet without worrying about repercussions.Lies, bullying, conspiracy theories, bigoted and racist rants, and calls for violence targeting the most vulnerable circulate openly on the web.And thanks to the guarantees of the First Amendment and the borderless nature of the Internet,governing bodies are largely helpless to control this massive assault on human dignity and safety. Abe Foxman and Christopher Wolf expose the threat that this unregulated flow of bigotry poses to the world.They explore how social media companies like Facebook and YouTube, as well as search engine giant Google, are struggling to reconcile the demands of business with freedom of speech and the disturbing threat posed by today's purveyors of hate. And they explain the best tools available to citizens, parents, educators, law enforcement officers, and policy makers toprotect thetwin values of transparency and responsibility. As Foxman and Wolf show, only an aroused and engaged citizenry can stop the hate contagion before it spirals out of control - with potentially disastrous results.
Abraham H. Foxman is the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and one of today’s preeminent voices against hatred, discrimination, and violence in the United States and worldwide. He is the author of Jews and Money, The Deadliest Lies, and Never Again?.
Christopher Wolf is widely recognized as one of the leading American practitioners in the field of privacy and data security law and serves as the director of Hogan Lovell LLP’s Privacy and Information Management practice group.
“Abe Foxman and Chris Wolf have done a remarkable job in Viral Hate of balancing important concerns about freedom of expression with a blunt look at how the Internet can distort those freedoms to undermine a democratic society that we cherish. This is a significant book that will provoke discussion and the good news is that it is thoroughly readable as well.”
--Mike McCurry, former Press Secretary to President Bill Clinton, Partner, Public Strategies Washington
“At a time when many question whether the First Amendment is up to the challenge of hate speech in a borderless medium, Foxman and Wolf argue that fealty to first principles must remain the lodestar. While the global Internet may have amplified the voices of hate, it has also enriched the responses available in our constitutional tool box. Our capacity for counter speech, education, and responsible action is now unbounded. It is now up to all who benefit from the open Internet to heed the call.”
--Leslie Harris, President, CEO, Center for Democracy & Technology
“The tradeoff between freedom of speech on the one end and the right to be protected from vicious wide spread hatred and bigotry on the other end was never more essential, more challenging, more urgent, and more tricky than it is today. The internet being, for better or worse, the ever-biggest propagation engine in history, makes it all the more critical. This tricky balance is thoroughly discussed by Abe Foxman and Christopher Wolf. A must read.”
--Yossi Vardi, Founding Investor, ICQ (Computer Instant Messaging Program)