Facebook have taken a new step towards calling out extremism on Social Media by actively rewarding users who speak out against extremist propaganda. The move comes as growing public concerns surrounding safety on Social Media have caused international Governing Bodies and Social Networking giants to take a firmer stance against extremists…
The new initiative has been named “counter speech” and through it Facebook hope to do their part in tackling extremist narratives on Social Media by promoting content that discredits those views. Facebook have pledged to reward users who use content that actively opposes extremist propaganda, such as videos and pictures, with up to $1,000 (£688) worth of ad credits.
Social Networking sites have been responding to pressure from governmental bodies across the globe that say that they need to take an active part in calling out extremism across networks. In the past Social Networks have been reluctant to do so actively due to fears it could compromise freedom of speech and their own policies. However, with groups such as Isis actively using networks to spread extremist narratives and in some cases radicalise vulnerable younger people, Facebook have opted to move to strike a balance between promoting free speech and curbing harmful extremist propaganda.
Other Social Networking sites have responded to this pressure in various ways. Twitter recently closed over 125,000 accounts related to Daesh (Isis), displaying how they are not unwilling to do their part in anti-extremism. They have also launched the Trust and Safety Council which will allow them to monitor and limit abusive content.
One of the first awardees of ad credits was German comedian Arbi el Ayachi. Ayachi posted short videos that countered negative western stereotypical views of Islam and of Muslims.
While it is still unclear how the initiative is going to be run, Facebook are using “counter speech” alongside active initiatives from other large networking corporations such as Google and Twitter. Therefore this year we can expect to see a significant development in the tools that we have as consumers to call out extremism across Social Networking.