On Sunday, during the NAACP’s Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner in Detroit, presidential hopeful Kamala Harris announced that she’ll hold social media platforms “accountable” for “hate” should she be elected president in 2020.
“We will hold social media platforms accountable for the hate infiltrating their platforms, because they have a responsibility to help fight against this threat to our democracy,” Harris said, according to The Hill.
Throughout her speech, Harris cited recent attacks on both racial and religious minorities, such as the black churches that were recently burned down in Louisiana, the Minnesota mosque that was bombed in January and the 11 people who were killed in October by a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
“2018 was the deadliest year on record for domestic terrorism since the Oklahoma City bombing more than 20 years ago, and I’m telling you, we can’t feed it, I’m telling you I won’t ignore it, I won’t tolerate it,” Harris said.
Both lawmakers and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been under increased scrutiny as American citizens have expressed concerns over how white supremacists and extremists have utilized the Internet to propagate their hateful ideologies.
Facebook specifically has a lengthy record of continuously being on the wrong side of history. But in a controversial attempt to correct course, the platform announced last week that several high profile accounts that the company deemed “dangerous” would be banned permanently. That list included InfoWars co-host Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and to the surprise of damn near everyone, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Meanwhile, over on Twitter, CEO Jack Dorsey recently hung out with Donald Trump, personally called Rep. Ilhan Omar just to Kanye Shrug at the deluge of Islamophobia that’s been spewed her way on his platform, and held internal meetings in which an exec admitted Twitter can’t outright ban racist rhetoric because then Republicans would be booted off the platform too.
But Harris appears ready for the challenge, even pledging to “double” the civil rights division at the Department of Justice.
“If you profit off of hate, if you act as a megaphone for misinformation or cyber warfare, if you don’t police your platforms, we are going to hold you accountable,” Harris said.
Ironically enough, however, Donald Trump was on Twitter last week vowing to do the complete opposite.