Online messaging versus Defamation of character.

When the Constitution was written, the ability of an individual, even the President, to reach a large audience was extremely difficult and would take weeks, or even months to get a message distributed.

Today a person via the Internet can reach tens of Millions of people with their message; voice, text, video, image, etc. – in seconds.   Each person can be their own newscaster or publisher.

One should not be allowed to state one’s opinion online about an entire group of people – by race, religion, country of origin, age, gender, etc. – unless you have specific in-person information on every individual in that group.   If you want to make remarks, make them about a person, or a specific group of people that the speaker has interacted with.  The larger the group, the more a speaker’s negative comments ring of straight hatred; based on upbringing, or generalizing about a specific experience, unrelated to the entire group. Conversely, unwarranted praise is pandering and also unjustified. If you have not interacted with the individuals personally, then how can we speak honestly about them?

Therefore, it seems to me the definition of Defamation of character, slander and libel, need updating. Defamation of character happens when something untrue and damaging about one person is presented as a fact to another party.  Expand Defamation of character to cover groups, based on today’s World, as we have modified other laws over the last 2 Centuries.  We have the power to update laws to address situations that our Founding Fathers could never foresee. To say no laws need updating, is equivalent to saying we do not need traffic laws because cars didn’t exist in 1789.

My view is — there are approximately(~) 5%, of any group, that are the cause of most of that groups most egregious acts.  They are the main reason we need laws, police, courts, and other enforcement agencies.  Most other individuals will behave ethically, morally, and “do the right thing”.

So, our dilemma in this era of World-wide connectivity, instant broadcasting, and personal publishing – is how do we, as a society, manage the problematic ~5%, and keep their ignorant massaging from unlawfully influencing the other 95%?

One way to remedy this situation is with the PttP Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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