In the wake of horrendous events in New Zealand high profile Australian politicians are calling on social media outlets to take action against people spreading violent hate speech. They could start by banning anonymous posts.
Marking the World Wide Web’s 30th anniversary last week its creator, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, warned of the Internet’s unforeseen dysfunction, telling The Australian “there are a lot of people out there who believe in bizarre things, have fallen for atrocious conspiracy theories and are manipulated into scams”. Berners-Lee added, “This is not just about technology, there’s a people problem here as well”.
It’s time we did something about the ‘keyboard cowards’ – especially those who post false and/or defamatory comments on social media.
To fail to do so will open the Internet up to criticism that could lead to moves by governments to interfere in ways that have been successfully opposed since its inception, on the basis of arguments about free speech and freedom from undue state interference in people’s lives.
Faced with an important editorial decision, the ABC‘s managing director Michelle Guthrie went to dinner instead.
In my opinion the incident highlighted a lack of understanding of her responsibilities as editor-in-chief, not to mention those of the organisation’s most senior executive. The ABC needs to be exemplary when it comes to news management.