Social media and tech platforms are vectors for extremism, racism, misogyny, lies and violence.
Self-regulation has not worked. It’s past time for policymakers in Washington to confront the hate-and-lie-for-profit business model of tech platforms. Policymakers must stop allowing companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to operate unchecked.
Online hate speech has translated to real-world violence everywhere from El Paso, Texas, to Christchurch, New Zealand, and the halls of the U.S. Capitol. Disinformation about the global pandemic and public-health issues has spread unabated. Both foreign governments and domestic operatives have used voter-suppression tactics to stop people of color from voting. Bad actors have used the platforms to incite genocide in Myanmar, glorify paramilitary murders in the Philippines and sow distrust between communities everywhere.
We need to fundamentally reexamine the business model that amplifies the most extreme and hateful speech. Complex problems require complex solutions. We need a strategic set of solutions to meet the multifaceted challenges before us.
Luckily we have a 4-step plan to upend Big Tech’s hate-for-profit business model. Scroll down to see the plan and tell Congress and the Biden administration to take action today.
Tell Congress it's time to upend Big Tech’s hate-for-profit business model by:
1. Adopting comprehensive privacy legislation.
- Pass a data-privacy law that bans the collection of our data, protects our civil rights, stops abusive practices, prohibits algorithmic discrimination and provides for enforcement with real teeth.
2. Passing legislation to tax social-media companies for polluting the information ecosystem and direct those monies to support high-quality noncommercial and local journalism.
- A 2-percent tax on the targeted-advertising revenues of the top-10 online platforms would yield more than $2 billion for a national endowment to support journalism that meets the needs of diverse communities.
3. Using existing authorities at various government agencies to regulate data collection and algorithmic decision-making in a coordinated fashion.
- Appoint an interagency White House official to coordinate agency study and action on tech companies’ civil-rights violations and other harmful data practices.
- Encourage the Federal Trade Commission to begin rulemaking on harmful data and algorithmic practices.
- Reexamine the algorithm-based business model that promotes the most radical and hateful speech. Incentivize the development of pro-social algorithms and other recommendation mechanisms that do not rely on or exacerbate a hate-for-profit dynamic.
4. Encouraging bold use of antitrust authorities to stop tech giants’ never-ending acquisition of new firms.
- The Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission and other federal and state enforcement agencies should stop the dominant platforms’ monopoly abuses, collusion and other anti-competitive practices when and where they happen.