HATE SPEECH ON SOCIAL NETWORK SITES: PERPETRATOR AND SERVICE PROVIDERS’ LIABILITY
Keywords:hate speech, social network sites, cyberspace, liability
The article investigates the phenomenon of hate speech on social network sites and gives an overview of the national and international legal instruments which are available to combat hate speech. After an overview of the nature of hate speech and
the early international attempts to curb it, hate speech in South Africa is investigated. The question is posed whether statements of hatred made on the Internet, especially if published from sites such as Facebook which is external to South Africa, can lead
to liability for perpetrators in South Africa. International responses to hate speech in cyberspace are then investigated with specific reference to the possible liability of Internet service providers for hate speech posted by third parties on their websites. It
is shown that, although service providers in the United States enjoy more protection than those in European Union, Canada and South Africa, hate speech on social network sites can be legally curbed. It is concluded that the myth that the Internet as a godless, lawless zone can and must be dismissed.
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