Why the Internet Is Threatening Free Speech

One of my favorite YouTube channels is from Anderton’s Music Store, this week they had to put up a short video that due to recent trolls in their comments section they would be deleting comments and blocking posters. I had to ask myself, What kind of shithead trolls a music site that has videos of various guitars and amps? Apparently a lot of them. The anonymity of the internet has provided a great hedge for despicable people to hide behind and lob eggs from. None of these people would last in a direct confrontation but thanks to technology they are emboldened to think their opinion matters. Truth be told no one’s opinion matters. Even as I’m writing this in my head I going, yeah that’s my opinion but it doesn’t matter because trolls will be trolls.

Expressing one’s self is the heart of what makes us human. The freedom to do so without fear of reprisal is what makes America so great. Some see that as carte blanche to attack and deride others. As a librarian I abhor the thought of censorship but when it means I don’t have to wade through a sea of garbage I’m backed into an uncomfortable corner. The only solution starts with each of us. That solution is as simple as treating everyone online not even as you would treat them in real life but as you would like to be treated. It’s not that difficult for the intelligent among us who probably have already figured that out. For the rest there is always the ban hammer. Sadly that only seems to encourage the trolls more so it really is a death spiral of sorts.


Vincent A. Alascia is the author of, “Undead Heart,” “In the Presence of Gods,” and, “Xristos: Chosen of God,” available on Kindle and paperback as well as works that have appeared in anthologies and online. Originally an East Coast native, he makes his home in the Phoenix Arizona area with his wife where he is an active member of the West Valley Writers’ Workshop and a librarian at the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.

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