In Congressional Hearing on Hate, the Haters Got Their Way

WIRED | 4/9/2019 | Issie Lapowsky
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Tuesday's House Judiciary Committee hearing on the rise of hate crimes and white nationalism devolved into a four-hour squabble over who’s most hated, and who’s doing the hating, in America. The members of the committee and some of the eight witnesses who sat before them battled over whether anti-semitism or anti-black hate is most deserving of their attention, and whether it’s white supremacists or Muslims or Democrats or the President who harbor the most hate. Meanwhile, in cyberspace, the comment section on the YouTube livestream of the hearing filled up with so much filth that YouTube had to shut it down.

Like so many congressional hearings before it, the committee failed to reach any meaningful bipartisan consensus or elicit illuminating answers from the representatives from Facebook and Google who sat before them. Instead, by the time it ended, it seemed the hearing had succeeded in doing just one thing, and that is, as Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) put it, pitting minority groups against each other. The haters, in other words, got their way—and the tech giants that have allowed those hatemongers to fester and find each other got off scot free.

Impetus - Hearing - Course - Mass - Shooting

The impetus for the hearing was, of course, the recent mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which an apparent white supremacist, deeply steeped in alt-right internet culture, slaughtered 50 people at two mosques, and broadcast the attack on Facebook Live. That video spread far and wide on Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms, leaving tech companies helpless to stop its spread. As a result, among the witnesses at Tuesday’s hearing were representatives from Facebook and Google, who work on the platforms’ content policies.

It seemed possible that such an obvious tragedy, which so clearly exposed how tech platforms have become a honeypot for hate and violence, might prompt even a deeply...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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