Sacha Baron Cohen spoke at the Anti Defimation League‘s Never Is Now conference about social media and it’s influence on society. He made some fantastic points…. Yes, the comedian who thought Ali G and Borat were good ideas had some fantastic points.
If you’re not interested in the video, here’s the upshot; FB, Google, Twitter, and others have been asked to moderate hate speech and political ads that are false as well as false “news” stories, removing them from their platforms. Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by congress about it and his answer as so many of the others have said… it would be too expensive to remove lies and propaganda. Twitter has already written the algorithm to remove hate speech but hasn’t used it because, they’ve said, it would remove some of the highest profile American politicians from the platform. To me, this is just reprehensible.
Hate, bigotry, intolerance, lies, these are, if you’ll excuse the reference, tools of the adversary. Bad people are winning because private companies, corporations who should do better… who could do better… are reluctant to loose a few bucks. As part of the human family, we have a duty to our fellow man not to allow atrocities to occur if we can help it and the money grubbing billionaires refuse to take a stand for what is right because it impacts their bottom line. The only thing that would make them stop would be regulation because they’ve become so ingrained in our society they are not likely to fail any time soon…. or at least not soon enough to make a difference. Legal obligations that could shit them down for good would be the only way to get them to moderate themselves.
Twitter has done good in the past. So has google. Facebook has been instrumental for getting the good word out about so many wonderful causes. The good does not outweigh the bad.