Small Wars Journal

Countries Want to Ban ‘Weaponized’ Social Media. What Would That Look Like?

Mon, 04/01/2019 - 12:08am

Countries Want to Ban ‘Weaponized’ Social Media. What Would That Look Like? By Damien Cave – New York Times

What if live-streaming required a government permit, and videos could only be broadcast online after a seven-second delay?


What if Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were treated like traditional publishers, expected to vet every post, comment and image before they reached the public? Or like Boeing or Toyota, held responsible for the safety of their products and the harm they cause?


Imagine what the internet would look like if tech executives could be jailed for failing to censor hate and violence.


These are the kinds of proposals under discussion in Australia and New Zealand as politicians in both nations move to address popular outrage over the massacre this month of 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The gunman, believed to be an Australian white nationalist, distributed a manifesto online before streaming part of the mass shootings on Facebook.


If the two countries move ahead, it could be a watershed moment for the era of global social media. No established democracies have ever come as close to applying such sweeping restrictions on online communication, and the demand for change has both harnessed and amplified rising global frustration with an industry that is still almost entirely shaped by American law and Silicon Valley’s libertarian norms…

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