Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris said over the weekend that she wants to hold social media companies responsible for allowing radicalization and hate speech on their platforms.
Much like fellow candidate Elizabeth Warren, Harris is seizing on the current populist sentiment against Facebook in particular in her campaign speeches. But while Warren has gone after the antitrust angle, suggesting that Facebook be broken up from Instagram and WhatsApp, Harris is taking up the cause of hate and saying that the platforms need to be held accountable for acts of domestic terrorism that are born out of social media. "They have a responsibility to help fight against this threat to our democracy," Harris said, as The Hill reports.
Harris made the remarks during a speech at the NAACP's Fight For Freedom Fund dinner on Sunday in Detroit, and she made reference to the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh the recent arsons at three black churches in Louisiana.
It’s time we had a leader who speaks out against hate in all its forms. pic.twitter.com/WgpPGnfduj— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 6, 2019
Per The Hill, Harris said, "2018 was the deadliest year on record for domestic terrorism since the Oklahoma City bombing more than 20 years ago, and I’m telling you, we can’t feed it, I’m telling you I won’t ignore it, I won’t tolerate it."
She also added, clearly pointing the finger at Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, "If you profit off of hate, if you act as a megaphone for misinformation or cyber warfare, if you don’t police your platforms, we are going to hold you accountable."
Harris did not explain further how her administration would come after the platforms.
There is currently no precedent for legally punishing social media platforms for the content posted by their users, but as The Verge notes, the law that protects them — the Communications Decency Act of 1996 — is coming under increasing fire from lawmakers who say it should be revised or revoked.