I am working on a post on rape culture, and the way in which society aids and abets abusers and harassers, but it is slow going, primarily because I want to be thoughtful about the way that I approach the topic. That said, a couple of things scream out to be said:
1. Freedom of speech as identified by the First Amendment prevents the government from taking action to restrict what you say. That’s all. Everybody has a right to speak somewhere, but nobody has a right to the particular soapbox of their choosing at all times.
2. If you are the CEO of a social media company, and you defend the behavior of one of your subscribers with Voltaire’s supposed quote “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it,” you are admitting that you would defend the right of individuals to harass others over protecting people — in this case women — from being harassed. Good to know. I had not planned to get a Storify account — I don’t really want another time sink on my hands — but now I definitely think I’ll pass. Furthermore, if you cannot recognize the way in which harassment by your technology can look different from harassment by more traditional means, and if your policies were supposed to only cover “original material,” then your company is not one I would want to do business with anyway, since it seems to be run by idiots.
3. I am bemused by the struggle women have had to go through to get harassing materials removed from social media sites, when some sites have been more than willing to take down pictures of nursing mothers faster than you can say “breastfeeding.”