- Date published:
10:11 am, March 24th, 2019 - 79 comments
Categories: Christchurch Attack, facebook, International, internet, making shit up, Media, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, us politics - Tags: david slack, duncan grieve
So just over a week ago a white supremacist gathered together some guns and then went to a couple of Christchurch mosques and shot innocent Muslims all in the name of some imaginary race war that civilised parts of the world had moved on from many years ago.
And what was really funny was the fucker thought that there was some sort of threat to the white way of life.
His use of social media was calculated. He had a twitter account that would have been noticed by very few people but which stored photos of guns and magazines with crazy stuff written on them. He had a manifesto that was emailed to various politicians immediately before the event. He had a head mounted go pro camera which live broadcast on Facebook sickening video of what he did.
And he intends to continue. He is apparently lawyerless and hopes to turn the trial in the same charade that Anders Breivik did.
Why has social media, originally intended to let people keep in contact with family and friends and display photos of what we are eating turned so evil? And what do we do?
From Overseas the New York Post offers this description:
New Zealand’s prime minister on Tuesday called for social media companies to take responsibility for what is published on them — after the slaughter of 50 people in two of the country’s mosques was livestreamed on Facebook and widely shared.
“We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published,” Jacinda Ardern said in a speech to Parliament.
“They are the publisher, not just the postman. It cannot be a case of all profit, no responsibility.”
The 38-year-old lawmaker acknowledged that social media didn’t cause the massacre but argued that it did play a role in allowing hate to spread.
“There is no question that ideas and language of division and hate have existed for decades. But the form of distribution, the tools of organization, they are new,” she said.
“Where racism and hatred are given a voice, violence flourishes.”
And this morning David Slack offered this comment:
‘The Wild West’, they call the internet, whenever something happens that’s so depraved, so despicable, we can scarcely believe it. The most you’re likely to get is a shrug.
“I’m sure there’s more that can be done in terms of learning from it” and “we all feel terrible about it”, said someone from Facebook, whose job title is VP public policy, about the murder of 50 people broadcast live on their platform.
The original Wild West no longer exists. In its place came telegraph wires and railway lines and law enforcement and rules and regulations and freeways and burger chains. Most people crave order.
But not everyone. Some people enjoy chaos and misery and untrammelled hostility, at least from the comfort of a computer desk.
There has been a movement this week among local corporates to review the use of facebook. From Duncan Grieve at the Spinoff:
A coalition of major New Zealand advertisers is building a coalition to demand change from the tech giants.
New Zealand’s biggest advertisers are working both individually and collectively to try and force change from the tech giants in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks. At midday on Monday the Association of New Zealand Advertisers (ANZA) and the Commercial Communications Council (CCC) issued a joint statement calling for urgent change to the technology that allowed the Christchurch gunman to livestream his actions for 17 minutes on Friday.
Since then this sentiment has coalesced towards forcing the tech giants to reckon with the consequences of what their platforms allow. Conversations with multiple leaders in communications and marketing across brands and ad agencies suggest that once positions are formalised the next step will be to try and gather international support from a group of major advertisers.
Of course this is not the only example where Facebook poses an existential threat to democracy. Its ability to circulate fake news is also deeply troubling and the use of fake news by the right arguably affected the result of the last US Presidential election. Things are that bad that someone has made a living out of pedalling clearly labelled fake news and it seems the faker the news the better.
David Slack is right. The internet is the wild west. There is no effective way to review or regulate what is posted and it can be deeply damaging. Mainstream media has various standards it must adhere to.
So what do we collectively do? Boycott Facebook until it sorts itself out? Require it to disable live view? Disable all of our accounts?
One thing I can say is that the status quo should not be an option.