As governments across the West increasingly view the internet as a public utility, the push to regulate it grows, but could this just be a Big Brother strategy that furthers a political agenda to control what we can see on the web?
It’s positively Orwellian.
Facebook defines hate speech in part, as attacks on people based on their race, gender, and faith and while the site’s rules don’t include protection for political affiliation, it has been accused of targeting and censoring partisan content.
Over the summer, Germany introduced laws punishing social media companies with a maximum fine of $53M if content the government deems hateful, or criminal isn’t removed within 24 hours.
Now British Prime Minister Teresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd may be following suit as they too push for new legislation to allow government to police social media content, allegedly in order to stop terrorism.
At a Conservative Party Conference earlier this month, Rudd announced that those who repeatedly view terrorist content online could face up to 15 years in prison, adding, “I want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions, face the full force of the law.”
Based on her statement, Rudd’s definition of extremism should also encompass violent left wing groups like Antifa, but will it?
We need to safeguard against threats, but we can also be concerned about how social media giants and governments might exploit regulations to increasingly censor legitimate conservative content.
How can we help stop terrorism when criticism of the ideology that inspires it, is censored?