Scott Greer documents for Daily Caller readers a disturbing development for those who support free speech.

While America was distracted by the unimaginable tragedy of Harambe the Gorilla’s death, something far more consequential was going on in Europe Tuesday.

The biggest companies in the tech world struck a historic deal with European Union officials to censor online “hate speech.” Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft all signed onto the mandate to cooperate with the continental body to regulate and restrict speech determined too offensive for the internet.

With the the migrant chaos, terror, and subsequent rise of nationalism striking the heart of the European homeland, EU officials have grown concerned by the sight of their citizens expressing views on social media they find detestable and racist. The EU and many of its member states have laws punishing hate speech, something the United States lacks.

But state agencies feel that they have been thwarted in their efforts to police their citizens’ viewpoints by online platforms like Facebook. It’s up to Facebook to determine whether a person’s post is offensive and merits deletion or even suspension. Many of these companies have dragged their feet in the past in response to the demands of European states to more forcefully censor their platforms. Tuesday changed that.

In response to the new policy, the hashtag #IStandWithHateSpeech became one of the top trending topics on Twitter as people from all across the world protested the EU tech deal.

What could cause so many people to say they support a noxious idea like hate speech in a public forum?

Because the legal codification of hate speech undermines the whole purpose of free speech. The point of protecting the right to free expression is to ensure those who give voice to unpopular views are not punished. Those whom express views in line with the prevailing wind of popular opinion are not the ones who need the comfort of the First Amendment. By instituting hate speech laws, the government declares itself the arbiter of what counts as hate speech, which means they are more likely to go after unwanted opinions.