Digital platform backlash follows storming of US Capitol
- Social media platforms in the firing line following violence in Washington DC
- "Blood on your hands" accusations
- Tide could be turning against popular platforms
US investors, media and public opinion is turning on the Big Tech social media platforms as Facebook, Twitter, You Tube et al are increasingly being blamed for helping foment violent insurrection and an attempted political coup on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on Wednesday.
Critics, and there many millions of them, say the endless promotion of unfounded conspiracy theories, disinformation, claims of election fraud and other influential, increasingly violent and unhinged rhetoric spewed, uncontrolled and untrammelled, across social media are a threat to democracy and the US Constitution and all civic norms.
Let there be no doubt about it, what happened on Wednesday was an offline, real-time, violent physical manifestation of the results of four years of online hate speech and festering political posturing straight out of the Hitler Playbook.
After Wednesday's appalling events, the backlash against social media was to be expected and righteously due. They did too little, too late and monetised it all as they went along while refusing to take responsibility for any of the content they carried. Cutting demagogues off from Twitter feeds for a few hours or Facebook for a day whilst posting self-serving anodyne caveats that what people are reading and watching may not be true is not good enough.
Facebook has been getting very twitchy about the slightest suggestions that it may be time to pass legislation to have the company properly policed, regulated and even broken up and Wednesday’s disgraceful scenes are prima facie evidence that the time may have come to cut Big Tech down to size.
This is an historical and pivotal moment. The new US administration could well seize it and squeeze the social media companies until the pips squeak, and they soon will.
Chris Sacca, an influential investor in Twitter and Instagram, posted this message: "You've got blood on your hands @jack [Dorsey of Twitter] and Zuck. For four years you have rationalised this terror. Inciting violent treason is not free speech. If you work at those companies, it's on you too. Shut it down."
Meanwhile, Roger McNamee, an early big investor in Facebook, wrote, "FB, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter etc, enabled this. They amplified hate speech, disinformation and conspiracy theories because it was profitable. They are accessories to the felonies we are seeing on our TVs… and many others."
That's just the start. There's change in the air and the social media titans will feel the blast.
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