Internet platforms are (finally) cracking down on hate speech


The Wild Wild Web ain't so wild anymore:

Within a 48-hour period this week, many of the world’s internet giants took steps that would have been unthinkable for them even months earlier. Reddit, which spent most of its life as a lawless free-for-all, banned thousands of forums for hate speech, including the largest pro-Trump forum on the internet.

Twitch — an Amazon-owned video-gaming platform not known for its political courage — suspended President Trump’s official account for “hateful conduct,” while YouTube purged a handful of notorious racists and punished a popular creator with a history of problematic videos. Facebook, under pressure from a growing advertiser boycott, took down a network of violent anti-government insurrectionists who had set up shop on its platform.

I'm sure the Covidiot-In-Chief will have some choice Tweets over this development, but it's been a long time coming. People who have limited their online experience to only Facebook and Twitter haven't felt the full force of racist and antisemitic trolls. Gamers in particular can be a nasty bunch, using intimidation and nastiness to help them win a stupid fricking game. And sometimes it gets genuinely frightening:

"Let's start with this, 'I want so many people to die by my hand and then play with their guts while they're still alive,'" he read.

Officials said the teen wrote that he was "going to kill so many people," adding that he wanted to stab people and "make them hurt." Another text said he gets happy when he imagines himself "being a villain going on a mass-murdering spree like in a movie."

Deputies say they traced this back to the teenager who admitted to making the threats after becoming jealous of other gamers. The comments were flagged by moderators on the chat app for gamers. Judd said the other gamers spoke up.

Unstable individuals like the 17 year-old above are often drawn into white nationalist communities, where hate feeds upon hate until it spills into the real world:

Several incidents in recent years have shown that when online hate goes offline, it can be deadly. White supremacist Wade Michael Page posted in online forums tied to hate before he went on to murder six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012. Prosecutors said Dylann Roof “self-radicalized” online before he murdered nine people at a black church in South Carolina in 2015. Robert Bowers, accused of murdering 11 elderly worshipers at a Pennsylvania synagogue in October, had been active on Gab, a Twitter-like site used by white supremacists.

I have an extremely low level of tolerance for dudes trolling against women. So of course I've been accused of "overreacting," sometimes even by the women being trolled. "I can fight my own fights." But it's not always that particular incident that concerns me, it's the behavior itself, and the likelihood that other women are being intimidated by that same troll elsewhere. Breaking that pattern is important, and I will continue to do it.