Brian Cuban discusses online hate groups

By Billy Crawford

Brian Cuban spoke to Texas State students and faculty today about how hate speech has connected itself to the Internet and social networking sites.

Cuban, a Dallas attorney and brother of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, got national media attention in May when he wrote the executives of Facebook requesting that Holocaust denial groups be removed from the social networking site.

“I’m not an activist,” said Cuban after the lecture. “The issue has personal relevance to me, and I’m just trying to do what I feel is right.”

Cuban pointed out that while the First Amendment protects hate speech in public forums, it does not apply to private entities such as Facebook, Myspace, Youtube or Twitter.

Cuban also offered multiple examples of how hate groups and sites serve as an “Internet hate incubator,” increasing the possibility of violent action. Cuban explained how online hate speech could have been a factor in James von Brunn’s murder of a security guard at the Holocaust Museum earlier this year.

“My opinion is that without the hate speech incubator, James von Brunn doesn’t commit what he does at the Holocaust Museum,” said Cuban. “You can build up hatred on Facebook and then walk out the real-world door and kill someone.”

Overall, the audience seemed both enlightened and stimulated by Cuban’s speech.

“I think the things he had to say were very valid points,” said Taylor Thompson, a recent Texas State graduate who attended the lecture. “I would definitely say that a lot of these hate groups should be taken down.”

Aside from bringing up valid arguments for the removal of hate groups on social networking sites, Cuban also educated the audience about the First Amendment application to hate speech and the Internet.

“I didn’t realize the difference between private and public [forums],” said Dara Quackenbush, senior lecturer and chair of Mass Comm Week. “Media law is not keeping up with the Internet, and this presentation highlights that.”

The students in attendance may have benefited most, as Cuban’s lecture provided insight into what type of online speech is protected by the First Amendment.

“I think [Cuban] opened the door for a lot of students in what they can and can’t do online,” said Chuck Kaufman, senior lecturer. “I think that it will make it easier for students to know that they can be held accountable for the things they publish online.”

Cuban said that the best way to limit hate groups or hate speech is to speak up. He noted the most social networking sites respond to issues when a large number of complaints arise, so reporting hateful groups and sites will usually cause action.

“The fight against hate speech can be incubated just as easily as hate speech itself,” said Cuban. “If one person goes online and reports a hate group and gets it taken down, it’s all worth it.”

Photo by Billy Crawford

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One thought on “Brian Cuban discusses online hate groups

  1. Von Brunn didn’t even shoot the guard, according to an eyewitness–

    [url]http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/06/10/museum.shooting.witnesses/[/url]
    She heard security guards yell to someone she could not see: “They were, ‘Get on the floor. Drop the weapon! Drop the weapon!’ Once he didn’t respond, they started shooting.”* * .. Hernandez saw another security guard lying flat on his belly.
    [Comment: If the perp had already shot off a round, the cops would not have given him a warning. The old guy never got a chance to fire his gun.]

    [url]http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0906/10/cnr.06.html[/url]
    MARIA:* I ran towards the glass doors to see what was going on….* And there I could see a security man pull out his gun and shoot towards the shooter.
    I also saw another security man [b]on his belly[/b].
    HENRY: And then you saw some of the return fire from the security personnel?
    MARIA: Yes, [b]it hit the security man[/b].* …* *… I thought that the security guards were just shooting, but then I know that they were shooting at someone. So it sounded like a small gun. It did not sound very loud. It sounded like the ones that the security guards — almost the same as the ones the security guards were shooting.

    HENRY: … as we heard from that eyewitness, Maria, 19 years old, who was saying that the security officer was bleeding profusely, was face down on the ground, [b]was bleeding from the back[/b], she believed…
    …she thought that [b]he was shot in the back and that the security guard had blood coming out of his back and he was face down on the ground[/b].

    [url]http://podcast.gcnlive.com/podcast//what_really/061009.mp3[/url]
    –Radio talk show host Mike Rivero at whatreallyhappened.com says a reporter ask a police spokesman if the accused gunman was wearing a “[b]special police uniform[/b].”* This indicates that an eyewitness identified the shooter as someone other than the designated patsy.[/QUOTE]

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