Social media and hate go hand-in-hand. Networks like Twitter and Facebook allow people guilty of hate crimes and violent acts to quickly spread any given message.
It’s also alarming how quickly thoughts and actions of hatred spread throughout social media. It has become such a problem that governments are now consistently looking for ways to crack down on social media users.
But cracking down also means walking a thin line between freedom of speech and preventing tragic events from happening live on social media networks. Today, EU lawmakers have approved a plan to make social media companies stop hate speech. The plan has not yet been approved by European Parliament, but this is law is the first of its kind to be approved by EU states.
Even though the EU states have taken a bold and proper step towards stopping hate speech and violent videos, it’s a difficult mandate that social media companies have been handed. Facebook is already working on stopping this type of content. The company has hired a massive team of people to look for violent and hateful content on its website.
Further, Facebook is working on a new algorithm to detect this kind of content, but it’s not easy to find. Algorithms (Artificial Intelligence) rely on something called Deep Learning to detect certain content. The problem is that teaching a computer to recognize video violence or read through hate content isn’t easy. While humans understand what any kind of violence looks like, computers might not.
A Somewhat Impossible Task
The new EU law proposes that social media companies stop violence and hatred. But this isn’t a simple thing to do, as stated above. The other problem is that some Internet watchdogs have noted that cracking down on what people can and cannot say on social media means stifling speech - a real problem.
There’s also the issue of business. Social media companies can’t stop people from writing everything, and where’s the line between what is acceptable and what’s not? These lines also blur with the current fake news epidemic. Fake news is widespread, but how can we determine what can and cannot be written about on the Internet?
Where does freedom of speech stop? These are difficult questions that must be addressed before social media companies can be held responsible for the things that people post.
More to Follow
While many social media companies (and tech firms) are currently working on programs to stop inappropriate content, no solution has been created yet. For now, social media companies might have to scramble to find solutions that will appease countries or face possible fines - or, worse, being banned from operating in those countries.
As mentioned above, the EU law has not yet been passed. That said, I would not be surprised if other countries follow suit. Social media was meant to be fun, but it’s turned into a playground for violence and hatred. Stopping those acts from happening will be tough, but the other option is to end social media altogether (at least the biggest companies).