John Mann MP barking up the wrong tree in relation to social media.
The notion that anti-Semitism in social media can be curbed by getting tough with Twitter and Facebook is seriously misplaced. The unstoppable rise of internet crime and the explosion of internet pornography illustrates how improbable it is that any measures taken on race hate and anti-Semitism will succeed.
And the idea that there is a technical ‘silver bullet’ that will rid the internet of race hate is equally misjudged. With around 675million Twitter accounts globally and 1.7 Facebook accounts the problem of surveillance is immense – the problems reported to CST and the police are simply the tip of the iceberg. Even where prosecution has been successful the unfortunate case of Luciana Berger and the continuing harassment that followed the UK’s first race hate conviction illustrates that race hate shifts just shifts from one virtual server to another – or more likely from one social media platform to another.
The suggestion that automated techniques can be used to root out offenders is ill-informed. Advanced sentiment analysis is nowhere near sophisticated enough to identify the subtleties of English, let alone race hate in other languages.
What we are witnessing with the current round of anti-Semitism is a well organised global phenomenon on the most unimaginable scale. Using technology to manage race hate is like the tail wagging the dog. Social platforms are merely the delivery vehicle of race hate. Making social media platforms the scapegoat for anti-Semitism may be a vote winner but the true remedies are in the hands of government(s), NGOs, politicians, educators, broadcasters and media outlets who have a duty to restore balanced reporting.