Tech-ing as Good as the Bad Guys

Are you frustrated by hate on the Internet? Are you frustrated by not getting the response you want from the platforms? Do you know what your problem is? You're not as good at using the Internet as the bad guys.

The haters, terrorists and malefactors seem to have all the time in the world figure out technology, the Internet and the best way to confound the platforms. They have to. Manipulating and circumventing tech companies prohibited use policies and mechanisms is critical to distributing their vitriol.

It seems like we are always chasing after the bad. This is, in part, because we stubbornly cling to the idea that people are looking for the best uses of technology, not the worst. Of course, if you are someone  intent on creating mayhem, destruction and distress, that is what you would define as the best use of technology.  The bad players are out there and trying to use the best tech in the worst ways, and with great dedication.

Our most common response to hate is to turn it off, shut it down or shout it down. That is simply not enough.  The bad guys don't just shout down the good, they work diligently to out-maneuver it. They collaborate and build on each other's work to create targeted false narratives, dialogues and distortions.  The lesson we need to learn from them starts there.

We need to anticipate how good products will be manipulated and prohibited content definitions will be conflated. Current events and history, good and bad, need to be viewed as potential weapons against truth and common sense. They need to be defended before they are assailed. We cannot just promote good speech, inspiring messages and social good. Out maneuvering bad speech, anticipating its emergence and developing collaborative efforts need to be a genuine priority - perhaps even beyond liking,  friending and selfies.

This is not the fun side of technology. It is not something that would occur to most people to be concerned about. Unfortunately, it is an all too reflexive behavior for those that are compromising the the promise of technology. We need to use tech, policy and our determination as well as the bad guys do, maybe even better.


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