Interview: Brian Cuban on Facebook Hate Speech Issue, Senseless Social News


 

briancuban_socialnerdia_1Brian Cuban is the attorney for Mark Cuban Companies and the Executive Director of the Mark Cuban Foundation. Brian is also an avid blogger at www.briancuban.com.

You can watch his recently announced Revolution Rant and follow him on Twitter @bcuban.

1. You recently raised the issue of Facebook Pages that contain questionable content, particularly around anti-semitism and Holocaust denial. Several of the Holocaust denial groups on Facebook remain active despite the press coverage about the topic. Facebook said that "just being offensive or objectionable doesn't get it taken off". What do you think Facebook should do (or should've done) and where should they draw the line?

It is a difficult question. I understand Facebook's concern that to classify the fact of denying the Holocaust as direct hatred would open up a pandoras box causing them to be the 'hate police' and draining their infrastructure to a point where their business model would not be viable. I don't agree with it but I do understand where they are coming from.

I would urge FB to not take such a semantic, historically static approach as to what is a statement of direct hate. History has consistanty shaped such definitions without trampling on the idea of free speech. What was hate speech 100 years ago may not be hate speech today. What is hate speech now may not be hate speech 50 years from now. I would urge FB to be more senstive to these historical cycles and be proactive versus waiting for human suffering to self define it for them.

There are also other solutions that should be considered. If FB is truly concerned about the cost of opening up the door of a broader defention of hate, maybe that money can be spent elsewhere that will educate their user base on what it means to hate. A prime example is what the Anti-Defamation League accomplished with Google. You can read about there here.

The point being that a solution does not neccesary have to be one extreme or another, and can involve educationg on hate speech as compared to censoring it.

2. Do you think Holocaust denial should be illegal in the US, as it is a crime in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Israel, Slovakia, and Switzerland?

Absoutely not! I believe in our Constitution and the 1st Amendment. Because I believe it is hate speech does not mean I believe it should be criminalized. There is a difference.

3. This is a personal issue for you, as it is for many. Does it sadden you or bother you to think that there are people that simply don't care about this and similar global issues?

I am saddened by indifference to suffering on any level.

briancuban_socialnerdia_24. You are quite involved in the social web and got into a bit of trouble with Digg. What happened? More importantly, what sites/apps are you using more these day and why?

I was using a script. I knew it was a violation of their TOS. I did it anyways. They let me back on when I promised not to do it again. I did it again anyways. I got banned.

I was using Reddit and Stumble but do not use them any more. You get to be a slave to traffic for the sake of traffic. Most of those people do not even read the content with any type of thirst for knowledge. Many are slaves in their own right to trolling and idiotic comments. Unless you need numbers for advertising the whole thing seems senseless. In the end, I only care about numbers in the sense of wanting people to read and think about what I write. Maybe if I allow ads one day, I will feel different. Today is not that day.

5. What kind of copyright law changes/improvement would you suggest around the online use of copyrighted content (on blogs, Twitter, etc.)?

I do not think any changes are needed. I do think Associated Press needs to chill off their Nazi approach.

6. As an attorney, how do you balance between the legality of things and your moral standards? What is your thought on things that while legal are not entirely "good"?

I try not to over-analyze on that level. I follow my conscience and my gut. That generally gets me where I need to be.

briancuban_socialnerdia_37. What have you been working on recently with Mark Cuban Companies? How involved are you with the Dallas Mavericks?

I am pretty much a jack of all trades for Mark, doing whatever he asks me to do for whichever company. My primary reponsbility right now is running The Mark Cuban Foundation. Our primary endeavor at the moment is The Fallen Patriot Fund.

8. What do you do for fun living in Dallas, TX?

I run and do MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). I currently train with Guy Mezger who is a former UFC champ. Other than that I hang out with my gf, travel, and love to watch movies.

9. What advice would you give to law students and new lawyers in the current economic situation?

Don't go to law school for the wrong reasons.

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