We just recently had written about how grandstanding politicians were on this rampage about how Twitter should be forced to censor
accounts used by terrorists. This follows on similar complaints in the past by politicians against YouTube. So, it's good timing to see that the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank has put out a report, noting that there is a legitimate danger in "online radicalization," and that strategies need to be put in place to deal with threats. But, perhaps more importantly, they note that policies involving censorship are not a reasonable strategy
The report evaluates the challenge of curbing online radicalization from the perspective of supply and demand. It concludes that efforts to shut down websites that could serve as incubators for would-be terrorists--going after the supply--will ultimately be self-defeating, and that "filtering of Internet content is impractical in a free and open society."
"Approaches aimed at restricting freedom of speech and removing content from the Internet are not only the least desirable strategies, they are also the least effective," writes Peter Neumann, founding director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College London and the author of the report.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out why: stifling such commentary often only emboldens people, making them think that they're "onto something" and attracting more interest from those who want to know who's done something so terrible that the US government wants to censor them. Of course, even with this report, it seems unlikely that politicians will give up this pointless grandstanding. It's just too easy and gets their names in the news.