There’s an important debate about the extent to which hate speech should be proscribed or limited — by laws and by platforms’ policies. In this essay (partly transcribed, I admit, from a Twitter rant), I talk about why the balance which maximizes the openness of the marketplace of ideas – the underlying reason why we have freedom of speech as an idea – is one which includes meaningful prohibitions against hate and harassment.
The main reason this is the needed is a “market failure” of this type of market: absent regulation, hate and harassment let people impose costs on others for speaking, and crucially, those costs and their effects are not equally distributed across people or ideas: they favor the speech of the powerful over that of the weak. And the usual mechanisms within the market, of “the remedy for speech being more speech,” are unable to prevent this for multiple reasons.
That isn’t to say that the choice of prohibitions is easy; it’s an incredibly complex problem, and the risk of the state having the power to suppress speech isn’t diluted by the fact that there’s also a risk of people being able to suppress each other’s speech. I touch on some of the basics of that equilibrium, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to write a full essay on that subject.