The summit will likely be remembered as yet another missed opportunity. Trump’s administration may be more willing than Obama’s to challenge the technology sector, but it has opted to fight the wrong battle, and its efforts risk making the problem worse.
Consider the administration’s reported plan to grant the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broad new authority to regulate social media companies.
The authority would not help the FCC force technology companies to more aggressively police their platforms for extremist accounts and content. Rather, the FCC, by virtue of an executive order called Protecting Americans from Online Censorship, would seek to ensure that social media companies aren’t “biased” against conservatives.
With Trump’s rhetoric and language often indistinguishable from that of avowed white nationalists, such a measure would make it more difficult for technology companies to counter extremism online.
As the Trump administration dithers, the threat only continues to grow.
Balancing the right to free expression online with the need to monitor and disrupt extremist use of the Internet is by no means a uniquely American problem.
From a technical and moral point of view, however, white supremacist content is no different from jihadi content—if social media companies can block one, they can block the other.
We can’t know if technology companies are getting the balance right if we don’t know what they’re doing, so improving transparency and publicizing metrics for content regulation is another important step.
Source: How Big Tech Can Fight White-Supremacist Terrorism