The Next Web: Hate speech is still too easy to find on social media. “Shortly after the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, I noticed that the word ‘Jews’ was trending on Twitter. As a social media researcher and educator, I became concerned that the violence would spread online, as it has in the past. The alleged synagogue shooter’s activity on the Gab social media site has drawn attention to that site’s role as a hate-filled alternative to more mainstream options like Facebook and Twitter. Those are among the social media platforms that have promised to fight hate speech and online abuse on their sites.”
Boing Boing: Twitter “sorry” for “mistake” of posting “Kill All Jews” as a trend . “Everything Twitter has said or done about trolls, abuse, harassment, threats, Nazis or ‘the health of conversations’ treats it as someone else’s problem. To Twitter these are PR issues, and its solutions are oriented to media coverage. This is why nothing ever really changes, least of all its enthusiasm for product features that might accomplish more. “
New York Times: On Social Media, No Answers for Hate. “Over the last 10 years, Silicon Valley’s social media companies have expanded their reach and influence to the furthest corners of the world. But it has become glaringly apparent that the companies never quite understood the negative consequences of that influence nor what to do about it — and that they cannot put the genie back in the bottle.”
BuzzFeed News: The Conspiratorial Hate We See Online Is Increasingly Appearing In Real Life. “Connecting the online footprints to tragedies in the physical world also reveals an undeniable truth: that the dichotomy between an online world and ‘real life’ is (and has always been) a false one. The hatred, trolling, harassment, and conspiracy theorizing of the internet’s underbelly cannot be dismissed as empty, nihilistic performance. It may be a game, but it’s a game with consequences. And it’s spilling into the physical world with greater, more alarming frequency.”
Mashable: Twitter will publicly flag tweets that violate its terms of service. “There’s nothing like a little public pressure to get someone to clean up their act. Twitter announced a change on Wednesday that will make it clear when someone has posted a tweet that violates Twitter’s terms of service.” What concerns me about this is that some really disturbing things apparently don’t violate Twitter’s terms of service — like, oh, comparing Jewish people to termites.
Bellingcat: From Memes to Infowars: How 75 Fascist Activists Were “Red-Pilled”. “The vast majority of domestic terror attacks in the U.S. are carried out by white supremacist organizations. Atomwaffen, a neo-Nazi death squad with five killings to their name, is probably the deadliest fascist group to have arisen since 2016. One member of Atomwaffen, Vasillios Pistolis, was an active duty U.S. marine when he marched at the first Unite the Right rally. Pistolis also posted regularly on a series of fascist and white supremacist Discord servers, prior to and after joining Atomwaffen. The media collective Unicorn Riot has archived hundreds of thousands of posts from these Discord servers. Their database includes dozens of conversations where fascists discuss how they were converted to their extremist beliefs. In an effort to understand that process, Bellingcat collected ‘red-pilling’ stories from seventy-five fascist activists. The analysis is below, details on the activists we studied can be found here.” Disturbing content, to say the least.
The Verge: Bing and Yahoo are suggesting offensive searches. “Bing and Yahoo, which is powered by Bing, are both suggesting offensive content within their search features. How-To Geek spotted that Bing’s image search is serving up suggestions for related topics that contain racist terms, the sexualization of minors, and otherwise offensive content. The Verge then found that this problem extends to Yahoo: its homepage search box includes an autocomplete feature that populates racist phrases, and the results often prioritize the company’s Yahoo Answers posts that contain offensive material.” As you might imagine, the article contains / links to a lot of offensive content.