In the aftermath of the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia several tech companies went on the offensive against hate groups operating on their platforms. AirBnB matched user profiles to social media posts and cancelled reservations. The ridesharing app Uber told its drivers it doesn’t have to pick up racists, and several domain companies like GoDaddy and Google began clearing their servers of far right groups. Twitter and Facebook also banned several accounts.
In a statement on Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote: “With the potential for more rallies, we’re watching the situation closely and will takes down threats of physical harm…we’ll keep working to make Facebook a place where everyone can feel safe.” And a number of other companies have also taken similar measures.
In the United States, companies are under no obligation to report hate speech. But does it set a dangerous precedent when companies with business interests can determine what’s right or wrong? Or, in the current climate, is removing hate speech from the conversation, like is done in several European countries, just the way it should be? Join the debate.
On this episode of The Stream, we’ll speak to:
Jeremy Malcolm @qirtaiba
Senior Global Policy Analyst, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Harvey Silverglate @HASilverglate
Civil liberties attorney
Melina Abdullah @DocMellyMel
Organiser, Black Lives Matter
Hannes Grasseger @HNSGR
Chinmayi Arun @chinmayiarun
Assistant Professor, National Law University, Delhi
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.