Facebook, Google face House hearing on white nationalism

Facebook, Google face House hearing on white nationalism
In this Dec. 17, 2018, file photo, a man using a mobile phone walks past Google offices in New York. Executives from Google and Facebook are facing Congress Tuesday, April 8, 2019, to answer questions about their role in the hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism in the U.S. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Executives from Google and Facebook are facing Congress Tuesday to answer questions about their role in the spread of hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism in the U.S.

Neil Potts, Facebook's director of public policy and Alexandria Walden, counsel for and at Google, will speak to the House Judiciary Committee along with leaders of the Anti-Defamation League, the Equal Justice Society and others.

The hearing was prompted by the March shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, when a gunman killed 50 people at two mosques and livestreamed the attacks on Facebook.

The suspected shooter also published a lengthy post online that espoused white supremacist views.

But controversy over white nationalism and hate speech has dogged such as Facebook and Google's YouTube for years. The companies long extolled the value of free speech while trying to avoid acting as content editors, then were forced to deal with a resulting torrent of abuse directed at their users. In 2017, following the deadly demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, tech giants began banishing extremist groups and individuals espousing white supremacist views and support for violence.

Facebook, Google face House hearing on white nationalism
In this Jan. 9, 2019, file photo, media and guests mingle before a tour of Facebook's new 130,000-square-foot offices, which occupy the top three floors of a 10-story Cambridge, Mass., building. Executives from Google and Facebook are facing Congress Tuesday, April 8, to answer questions about their role in the hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism in the U.S. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

In March, Facebook extended its ban on to include white nationalists in addition to just white supremacists—a distinction civil rights groups had long called meaningless.

Despite the ban, accounts such as one with the name "Aryan Pride" were still visible as of late Monday. This account's self-description read, in part, "IF YOUR NOT WHITE friend ur own kind cause Im not ur friend."

In addition, on Wednesday a Senate subcommittee will hold a hearing titled "Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse." This hearing will address the claim of perceived bias against conservatives by such as Facebook, Google and Twitter.

The companies have denied any such bias. While political figures from President Donald Trump on down keep levying the accusation, none have yet presented evidence of an anti-conservative or any other political tilt.


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Apr 09, 2019
It's not a technological problem. It's a political problem. When you allow liberal democratic elections to be corrupted by money and political action committees who can wage civil wars with applied behavioral science (aka PsyOps), when you allow the spread of fraudulent and divisive fake news and OpEd (e.g.: Fox News) that whip up to a fervor people's neuroses and fears, when you allow a Federal legislature to be bought and sold by corporations and oligarchs (e.g.: corruption), when you commit world-oppressing acts of hegemony and war crimes and crimes against humanity in the name of toxic nationalism and xenophobia -- these things poison the soul of a country. We've been watching this destruction of US civilization since President Gore was denied office. Although Facebook is certainly one of the symptoms of this problem, equivocating Google with them makes me want to vomit all over your clothes. As an Internet denizen since 1994, don't insult my intelligence.

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