At its inception, Facebook - and other social media platforms - were envisioned as free-for-alls on which any person, anywhere could share whatever they pleased about any subject.
Over the years, however, we’ve seen that utopian concept evaporate in the face of inappropriate or offensive comments and “fake news”. It has become clear that Facebook must perform a certain degree of police work on the platform – and that the public needs to be prepared for that.
The issue of Facebook’s responsibility to monitor content was highlighted last week, when the platform – along with Apple and YouTube – took the decision to ban the output of Alex Jones, an American radio host well known for his far-right views and fringe conspiracy theories. The move followed months of public backlash against Jones’ repeated belief that events like the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre of schoolchildren didn’t take place, and that it was all staged to force politicians to impose restrictions on gun ownership in the US.
In this edition of Inside AB, Eddie Taylor and Shayan Shakeel look at how the case has brought into focus a challenge that for years has vexed Facebook: how to balance its defence of free speech and the need to control hateful and potentially harmful content.
(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)