Averting your eyes in the Information Age: Hate speech, the internet, and the captive audience doctrine

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Abstract

Under US jurisprudential theory it is understood that people travelling to work on public transport are a sort of 'captive audience' to speech. Because of this -- because they find it hard to 'avert their eyes' in these situations -- the normal First Amendment rules might not apply. In other words, it might be acceptable to ban forms of unwanted speech that might otherwise be protected, precisely when people can't easily escape that speech. In a new article published in the Charleston Law Review, Alexander Brown argues that the Internet -- or certain places and spaces on the Internet -- can also render people captive audiences to unwanted speech (e.g. hate speech). This, he argues, holds true because it is very difficult today to avert one's eyes from the Internet. Put simply, the personal and professional costs of logging off or quitting social media are so high that it isn't something people can reasonably do anymore.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCharleston Law Review
Volume12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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