Quoted: Sheryl Sandberg suggests Facebook ‘like attacks’ to fight ISIS

“The best antidote to bad speech is good speech. And the best antidote to hate is tolerance.”

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Facebook users can fight ISIS and other hate groups by attacking them with Facebook likes. She said Facebook users in Germany did just that — liked a neo-Nazi group’s page, then filled it with positive messages.

But “like attacks” alone are unlikely to solve the problem of the amplification of hatred and extremism on social media.

Sandberg’s comments come amid increasing pressure on Facebook and other social media sites to help fight extremist speech online. In Germany, which has seen a rise in online hatred because of an influx of refugees, Facebook has beefed up the team that monitors and deletes hate speech. Also, the Silicon Valley company this week launched Initiative for Civil Courage Online, a million-euro pledge to support European non-governmental organizations that fight hate speech online.

Also this week, Google Ideas executive Jared Cohen suggested that a way to fight ISIS would be to try to contain the group to the dark Web.

Tech companies recently met with top U.S. government officials who want the companies to help them keep terrorists from spreading propaganda and recruiting online. As Michelle Quinn wrote, though, it’s tricky for these companies: “Who decides whether an innocuous statement by a known terrorist sympathizer is a call to violence, or whether quoting scripture is a signal to followers to act.”

By the way, in case you missed it, the family of a Florida man killed in an ISIS attack in Jordan has sued Twitter, accusing the San Francisco company of letting the extremist group flourish online.

Howard Mintz reported that the lawsuit said: “Without Twitter, the explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years into the most feared terrorist group in the world would not have been possible.”


Photo: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in November 2015. (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)


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