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Freedom of speech

First Amendment

2012

University of Florida Levin College of Law

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Incendiary Speech And Social Media, Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky Jan 2012

Incendiary Speech And Social Media, Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky

UF Law Faculty Publications

Incidents illustrating the incendiary capacity of social media have rekindled concerns about the "mismatch" between existing doctrinal categories and new types of dangerous speech. This Essay examines two such incidents, one in which an offensive tweet and YouTube video led a hostile audience to riot and murder, and the other in which a blogger urged his nameless, faceless audience to murder federal judges. One incident resulted in liability for the speaker, even though no violence occurred; the other did not lead to liability for the speaker even though at least thirty people died as a result of his words. An …