Freedom of Speech Online

It is often debated whether or not the internet should be an outlet for individuals to express freedom of speech, especially with the increasing trend of hateful and controversial content. As an example, some universities provide information technology to students and staff as a medium for free expression, whereas other universities are much more restrictive on the content that gets hosted. This essay will discuss whether it’s appropriate for universities to host web pages known to contain false or inflammatory information. It will also discuss where the distinction between freedom of expression and indecent or illegal web content should be drawn upon.
In the case of universities in Canada, the restrictions placed on students and staff on whether or not they are allowed to express their ideas freely via hosted web content seems to vary from school to school. Northwestern University, which was involved in a controversy with a hosted web page regarding the holocaust, still allows web content with freedom of speech, but any controversial opinions must have a disclaimer that explains that the content does not represent the views of the school. This is in direct contrast to establishments like University of Toronto and University of Calgary, in which any hosted web content must be consistent with the respective university’s mission and academic plan. University of British Columbia, however, seems to be less strict than all of them, for its policy encourages students and staff to freely express their ideas to further education. Seeing as the listed establishments are some of the biggest universities in their respective provinces, and thusly Canada, it is evident that there is still no universal agreement on whether or not freedom of speech is allowed on hosted web pages.
When it comes to hosting web pages that contain false or inflammatory information, universities can potentially place their credibility on the line. This is especially evident in Northwestern...