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Do you think big tech companies like Facebook should face tougher rules and penalties if they failed to curb hate speech and disinformation?

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Interesting concept here, since most of the social media corporations are private companies. However, while they provide the platform, the public provides the content displayed on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc. So, if you don't like what is the platform is being used for or the direction in which it is heading, you are free to not use it. Of course, the sites should have a vested interest in taking efforts to remove libelous speech, hate speech (advocating or encouraging violence against a group), etc., since appealing to a larger segment of society benefits them.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I said no. I equate social media and comment sections to privately owned public parks. Like parks, these digital spaces have opened themselves for people use in many different ways. As privately owned, the companies that run social media sites and comments sections have the right to determine what is good and what is bad. At the same time the companies have a vested interest in keeping things conservative yet diverse to attract as many customers as possible. As far as people asking for stronger liable and hate speech penalties for social media companies who don't crack down on misinformation and speech goes; you are basically demanding that a park hire a security team to watch and monitor things you do like seeing in a privately owned public place. Social media should have no obligation to do that as they are the producer of content. People on the platform say crappy things on the platform so go after them. The park does not sell drugs, people go into the park to sell drugs and the police hold the people accountable. In summary, if you want to crack down on this misinformation and hate speech, strengthen personal liability laws and penalties for frivolous claims.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

I think the big tech companies should be under severe antitrust scrutiny in the first place. Secondly, they should be required to list a physical address and contact phone numbers in each jurisdiction that they operate. The runaround to get contact with anyone to discuss a concern is ridiculous.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Treat them the same way that other media outlets are treated, by making them legally responsible for content they host that is libelous, slanderous or counter-factual and intended to damage a person's reputation. IKf you crowd source your content, the posters are now your employees, and you either police the trolls or pay the toll. Web-hosting services that allowed users to upload copyright material got taken down as complicit (probably because they angered the media giants and had little in the way of resources), so why not SMS?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

there's only a very thin line between freedom of expression and abusing it, I'm imagining that social media companies are in a very tough spot in this problem. The problem that I see is where to dray the proverbial line between freedom of speech and expression versus hate speech and disinformation. The world could always go full-on authoritarian state on it but it naysayers would just look for other areas to spread dissent. On the other hand, if we leave things as they are, you run the risk of an encyclopedia of problems coming from social media.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Good grief. 28 readers here want more Big Brother censorship by obsure Big Tech companies?

That is just sad.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

We are adults and can censor content for ourselves; no need for that to become the responsibility of Facebook nor any other entity.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

The average American is so poorly educated, constantly told that they know everything they need to know, and inundated 24/7 with propaganda that the compost which serves them as Reality will take any kind of false seed and nurture its growth, and the less rational but more fear inducing the more believable the lies become for them.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

People never learn. How many does the exact same pattern needs to repeat for people to learn that when govt. put rules on big corporations, the rules become a revolving door, a mechanism for big corps to take over the entire industry and suppress the competition. Big tech and big corporations love rules for a reason. Milton Friedman explained it well. The well meaning people always play the front man for the special interest groups who push a law that would benefit them. When the law is passed, the well meaning people move on to their next target, and the special interest group takes over the industry.

Also, who defines what is disinformation? I see disinformation literally every single day on every single major news media. The big tech have no means of judging if an information is correct or not other than by its source. That would obviously create a monopoly over information, something that already exists.

The best way to combat disinformation is by encouraging more information from more sources, independent sources in particular. Let people make up their own mind what to believe. The real issue is the one-sidedness. The issue is when people only have 1 source of information, or only view point is allowed. It makes no difference whether you allow 10 or 100 different news sites to publish information, if they all parrot the exact same view.

What i want to see more from big tech like YouTube in particular is to make it more easy for alternative views to be heard. When i watch a video, i want to see on the right side bar alternative videos. Videos that push the opposite view of the one i just saw, and not just videos with millions of subs, but any channel at all. I want to hear what the voiceless have to say. I also want to be able to find comments who disagree with the content. I want to be able to sort the comments by people who have liked the video, and people who have disliked it, so i can read what they have to say. Measures like that would promote alternative views, and give voice to the voiceless. There is no better way to combat disinformation than making it easier for alternative voices to be heard. Equalizing the exposure of all views is how you combat disinformation. I have no problem with somebody spreading lies about me, as long as i get to have my voice heard too, and people hear my side of the story too. Disinformation or misinformation happens when people are exposed to one sided information, often containing half-truths, but more often than that, the info would be completely factually correct, just one-sided. By omitting information, people don't get to see the full picture. Cherry picking facts and creating narratives is the real issue.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Yes, obviously. One only need look at the USA and how Faux News destroyed the truth there.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Social sensitivity and political correctness are oppression of freedom of speech. Everyone has a right to voice their opinion and not be censored. Expression whether one like it or gets their feelings hurt is moot. The choice is to read it, ignore it or put your own facts forward but at least using your voice be not oppressed.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Twitter is not removing David Icke and others who claim 5G masts are spreading the virus. As a result idiots in the U.K. are attacking telecoms engineers and burning mobile phone masts.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The polling so far shows that people would like a system similar to China and Singapore which can result in situations similar to Malaysia and Indonesia. China requiring citizens to officially register themselves with Weibo ( https://www.nanjingmarketinggroup.com/blog/simple-guide-weibo-setup-verification-foreign-companies ) or deal with consequences like in Singapore's POFMA bill ( https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/singapore-fake-news-protection-online-falsehoods-manipulation/#what ). The problem with these ideas, liberal liable laws and identifying registration is that they can lead to situations like Indonesia, where the government can and will influence ISPs to block sites or whole domains of what the government determines are "bad actors" and Malaysia which used their fake news laws to silence the 1MDB scandal.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Freedom of publication tied to responsibility ,

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I said no. Let people speak their piece even if you do not disagree with it. If you believe everything you read then you are ignorant. I do research on everything i come across because so much is moderated and changed, or blatantly false.

The problem is is that so many people believe the first thing they read and look at it like its god's truth even if off topic, vulgar or offensive.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@isoducky

Social media are not a public park, they are private hub that generate money by the views and adds. Hoax and hate speech generate more activities and money.

So this is more like a night club where the tenants are responsible if drug is sold or if people get over intoxicated, which are some of the reasons why people go there.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Hate speech" is too hard to define. There quickly comes a point where a grey area is reached. Who in these companies will decide on labeling the speech? Many would say that the US networks CNN and Fox report misinformation daily. It doesn't matter what side of the aisle you are on.

Despite these being private companies they wield so much power so it should be left up to the public to decide what to listen to, what to believe, and what to research.

If they do move towards policing their content providers they will reap what they sow.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Open Minded

You are right , Facebook is not like a public park. And, I didn't say it was like a public park. I said it was like a privately owned public park. Those two italicized words make a lot of difference. If Facebook was similar to a public park, a government sponsored space, people could take Facebook and attached governments to court for a Lot of concerns. Facebook is also not a night club although it is close. Facebook does not require it's users to buy or pay for any of it's basic services. Most bars, restaurants, and night clubs would require some form of payment to remain in the space. There was an interesting case revolving around a man waiting to meet some people in a Starbucks and getting arrested. Facebook also has to knowing ignore content to be held accountable for. Like a night club, if it knows, like views in action, the consumption of drugs then it is accountable. If someone goes into a bathroom one way and comes out another way, and the staff did not see anything, the club is not responsible as it did know beforehand. Same with Facebook, they can only be held accountable if they see the creation and posting of fake news in action and do nothing. This is where the reporting function comes in. Now to circle back to a Privately Owned Public Park. Please read about POPS ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privately_owned_public_space ) and Occupy Wall Street. The protesters did break many rules, non of which though were based on anything they said. If people go into a park owned by an entity to spout nonsense in the space and the private entity chooses to do nothing about it, the public really has no choice but to either ignore it or don't go there. The same can be said for Facebook, ignore the trolls or don't go there.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@isoducky

Too long blablabla.

The problem is that social media promote hoax and hate speech to generate money.

That is what is unacceptable!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Option 1: Social media platforms are just that: platforms. The speech on them is the responsibility of individuals, not of the company providing the platform.

Option 2: Social media companies are media companies. They have the right and the power to choose what they want to broadcast.

Option 3: Social media companies should be treated like public utilities. The government should determine what can and cannot be said on them.

Options 1 and 2 differ greatly in terms of how social media companies can avail themselves of existing speech and internet laws. Personally, I wouldn't trust Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey to decide what can and cannot be said, so Option 2 strikes me as a pretty bad deal for people. However, whether the primary protection is people's speech or the social media company's speech, neither option provides a rationale for curbing "hate speech" or "disinformation," neither of which exists as a meaningful category under the law. There are protections against libel, slander, inciting public riot, treason, and even blasphemy in many jurisdictions. "Hate speech" cannot be meaningfully defined. "Disinformation," were laws enforced against that, would eliminate 100% of all media outlets within a very short time. Both of these terms mean little more except for "speech by other people that I don't like."

It's only Option 3 that provides a strong rationale for regulating speech. As much as a lot of nonsense gets thrown around on the internet, do you really want the likes of Donald Trump, or Joe Biden, or Hillary Clinton, or Shinzo Abe, or Vladmir Putin, or Xi Jinping, or any other government leader choosing what gets to be said and not said on social media? I wouldn't trust any of them any more than I'd trust Zuckerberg or Dorsey.

The cost of having free speech is that lies sometimes get told. The cost of not having free speech is that only lies are told. The benefit of free speech is that the truth sometimes gets told. If politicians and corporate oligarchs are allowed to define acceptable speech for all of us, then all public opportunities to speak the truth will have ceased.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As others have said, the key point is exactly WHO gets to decide what is "hate speech" or "disinformation". I have rather more faith in people than a lot of posters here. Most people can determine what is and isn't BS.

There is more to life than social media. IMHO they are blown way out of proportion and given far too much credit than they deserve. Less than 10% of American adults use Twitter daily, for example, and demographically they trend young and relatively affluent. That leaves 90% who don't.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That depends on what your definition of hate speech is. That’s a very broad definition, because what a person takes as offensive may not be offensive to someone else. It’s a very slippery slope.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Hate speech" = speech that the leftist authoritarians hate.

Do so few people realize that freedom of speech is the thin line that separates us from the likes of mainland China?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

isoducky:

You are right , Facebook is not like a public park. And, I didn't say it was like a public park. I said it was like a privately owned public park.

.... a privately owned park that has a de facto monopoly and gets special privileges from the government. That is why the typical excuse of the Big Tech censorship that they are "private" is not valid any more. Once platforms like that have become the shared public opinion space and are even used for public announcements, they should stop acting partisan. So the slogan "go found your own Twitter" is just too cheap.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I voted NO because there was no third option like, IT DEPENDS or similar...

Get rid of hate speech & misinformation, sounds GREAT doesn't it, but in practice virtually impossible. And in todays woke, SJW filled insane asylum we all inhabit a LOT of what is termed hate or disinformation is ACTUALLY more like "I don't agree with this so it should be removed, banned""

And sadly this IS happening a lot on the big media sites, even here as well.

Mikeylikesit summed it up very well:

The cost of having free speech is that lies sometimes get told. The cost of not having free speech is that only lies are told. The benefit of free speech is that the truth sometimes gets told. If politicians and corporate oligarchs are allowed to define acceptable speech for all of us, then all public opportunities to speak the truth will have ceased.

So read the above & learn! Or not YOUR choice, don't let ME tell you what to do or what you are supposed to think! But I may call you out on it!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ Open Minded

I'm sorry if the attempt to explain the complexities of public and private gathering spaces are long-winded, but your most recent post demonstrates why these complexities, even if not wished to be read, need to be written. The people directly in control of forming bills to limit, maintain, or expand legal restrictions on social media are having similar conversations as we are now. TV is far more adapt to spread false information and hate speech as there is no instant counter argument. You can't refute a TV live outside of your home. A person in the park is another story, which is ironically similar to a comments section of a news website.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Who defines “hate speech”?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Social sensitivity and political correctness are oppression of freedom of speech. 

Nope. Every single day, at every opportunity, certain online denizens will have their say and inevitably, some of it will be bigoted, bullying and bereft of honesty.

It needs to be called out.

Social media sites aren't countries with constitutional rights.

And if there is a push to stop misinformation, hatreds and prejudice - the far right will usually find others platforms to be spouting off on.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Don't forget the psychotic left, they are just as bad as the right wingers  & the left can spew hatred with the ""best"" of them!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It needs to be called out.

Depending what that is? What you think is racist another person might not think it, so you can’t concretely say what racism is. Example: if I say, most Asians are good at math, that’s not racist. The intent of saying that complement was out of respect, jealousy and admiration, anyone thinking differently could misconstrue the comment as being racist.

And if there is a push to stop misinformation, hatreds and prejudice - the far right will usually find others platforms to be spouting off on.

And liberals will use every 24/7 chance to use race to bolster any arguments that come their way, they lose it, it has to be because of the other persons skin color or race.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Freedom of speech doesn't mean insulting people, or groups of people, or inciting hatred and/or violence towards them. This isn't political correctness, it's common decency, something sadly lacking on social media at times.

People deserve the right to enjoy social media and the benefits thereof without some loudmouth gobshite spouting off about this or that to make a name for themselves... and there are plenty of them on social media. Corporations provide a place for social discourse, and they encourage us to get involved... like any gatekeepers they should be responsible for keeping people safe.

If you are in a car and one of your passengers decides NOT to use a seatbelt. It is YOUR responsibility as the owner and driver to make sure everyone is safely belted in. Social media companies have that same duty of care.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

And who exactly gets to dictate what does or doesn't qualify as "hate speech" or "misinformation"? But sure, let's take yet another step towards a dystopia because people need to be protected from "dangerous words" on the internet.

People should be able to write whatever they want, it's up to the reader to interpret it, research it, and choose whether they should ignore it, believe it, agree or disagree with it, etc.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Freedom of speech doesn't mean insulting people, or groups of people, or inciting hatred and/or violence towards them. This isn't political correctness, it's common decency, something sadly lacking on social media at times.

This is a very good argument as the venue is universal, but it has a big issue. Insult is subjective and incitement is criminally illegal. Which makes insults criminally subjective. We have a system in place for this in civil courts. It's just very hard to prove someone or something guilty of.

If you are in a car and one of your passengers decides NOT to use a seatbelt. It is YOUR responsibility as the owner and driver to make sure everyone is safely belted in. Social media companies have that same duty of care.

As the car is your private property and you transporting your friend, you have established a familiar tie. This means you may be doing an action voluntarily or for compensation not related to money. You are responsible for your actions in your car. Your account is your is basically your car and social media is the road. You can hold the road responsible up to a point. People polling against confuse a roller coaster with road, a controlled direction with more responsibility placed on the owner of the way than the vehicle in motion.

option 3 is the telephone, we will accept rules as they come and those who dare will find new ways and methods around those rules.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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