It must have been a challenging week this week for bosses at the big social media companies. As The Economist were preparing their cover story, ‘How to tame the tech titans‘, the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation convened a hearing titled “Terrorism and Social Media: #IsBigTechDoingEnough?” to “…examine the steps social media platforms are taking to combat the spread of extremist propaganda over the Internet.”
The BBC asked Radiate B2B co-founder Mike Weston to join the BBC Business Briefing and discuss the impact on social media in the future. If you’re in the UK, you can view the interview over the next four weeks on BBC iPlayer here.
The leaders of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were called in to answer questions about what they are doing to take down messaging and block accounts from people who spread seditious content. Each of these companies are spending more – and hiring more and more people – to help in that fight.
Is this a winnable struggle for them? They need to be seen to be doing something – even doing a lot – as politically and reputationally, they cannot afford to ignore the problem. But can they ever solve it? And is pushing those social conversations underground going to hinder the efforts of the security services to track potential outrages?
In the interview, Mike pointed out that trying to remove all social media accounts and content that promote terrorism is probably impossible. As soon as you block an account, it will spring up somewhere else and quickly regain its following… with the added spice of some notoriety at the same time. The same goes for any piece of content. You can never really close out 100% of inflammatory content.
“Social media isn’t a force for good or bad … it’s a megaphone. And that megaphone is going to be incredibly difficult to shut down..”
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this controversial topic.
Mike and Riaz, co-founders of Radiate B2B both get invited in from time to time to lend an expert view on matters technology and data, thanks to their long background in working at the leading edge of technology and marketing, in particular.