15 March 2018
I was pleased to read yesterday that Facebook has banned Britain First and its leaders from the social network. Twitter has already banned them while YouTube has restricted their content.
The group is infamous for inciting hatred against Muslims through its social media presence. Britain First’s post was notoriously reshared by US President Donald Trump.
The move comes in the same week that the government announce potential warning labels on social media sites. These warnings would indicate that sites can be harmful in the same way that cigarette packs currently carry labels according to Business Insider.
Facebook’s step is long overdue
There’s no denying that this step is long overdue when you consider how far out of hand social networks have gone in the past year or more.
It seems that Brexit and Trump have mobilised an area of society that previously had no platform. Unfortunately, social media has given them a voice. The very nature of social media sites is to be an amplifier. As an amplifier, social networks quickly spread messages – indiscriminately. Britain First quickly amassed two million likes and continued to spread hatred, giving trolls a place to share their views.
It is long overdue that social media sites behave more like news sites. They must accept the responsibility that they have to uphold the standards we expect in modern society.
Equally the incessant rise of fake news – to which Donald Trump basically admitted earlier today – is a real danger to society. As we have greater ability to restrict which information we receive, we’re closing the bubble of our knowledge and the information to which we are exposed. This makes it significantly harder to distinguish between real and fake news.
I hope that this is the first of a series of measures by all social platforms to clamp down on the spread of hatred, damaging messages and fake news. They have a duty to create a responsible platform.