Over the past few years, social media has become a cesspool for hate. In this week alone, House lawmakers took Facebook and Google to task over the rise of white nationalism online while others requested information on companies’ counter-terrorism budgets.
Now, the issue has caught the attention of other executives. During an award ceremony, Bob Iger — Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO — called social media “the most powerful marketing tool an extremist could ever hope for,” according to Variety.
“Hitler would have loved social media,” Iger said. “It creates a false sense that everyone shares the same opinion. Social media allows evil to prey on troubled minds and lost souls and we all know that social news feeds can contain more fiction than fact.”
Iger went on to say that people should “renounce and reject hate in all forms”, while urging elected officials to take more action. His timely remarks come only a few days after YouTube was forced to disable comments on its livestream of the Congressional hearing.
The comment section was overrun with remarks like “White haters!” and “Jews make their own problems”, as screenshots from Buzzfeed News reporter Ryan Broderick on Twitter show.
Other platforms have been struggling to regulate hate, too. Facebook amped up its ad policies by removing alt-right groups and stopping misinformation campaigns on the platform. Yesterday, the company also set up harsher punishments than before for groups who spread misinformation.
Meanwhile, Twitter has updated its community standards to ban dehumanizing speech, while YouTube is now working to alter features on its products to curtail some of the negative behavior.
“Leaders must offer a plan for progress that works for all of us and does not include leaving millions behind,” Iger said. “And leaders also have to be committed to a society and government that respects the rights and the human dignity of everyone within is.”