Monday, August 8, 2016
The Sightless Still See Hate
Many online service platforms have long advocated user initiated local blocking as a preferred method for fighting hateful content. As much as I appreciate the problems faced by the companies, simply having users block hate from their feeds is a bit like stopping the bleeding, but leaving in the bullet. The problem is still there, and will fester.
Think of a hearing impaired person, walking down the street, followed by someone screaming obscenities, abuse and taunts at them. Just because the victim can't hear the abuse does not mean they are not being abused.
When hate is directed at a person, or a group, or is posted in a place where the person or members of the group are likely to encounter it, that's wrong, inappropriate, uncivilized. Even if blocked from the victims view, it is seen and used by collaborative haters. It feeds the destructive environment.
User experience controls are a useful feature, but they do not combat cyberhate.
Let's be real. I can't recall ever seeing benevolent hate. Hate is meant to be harmful, offensive, marginalizing, degrading and malicious. The purveyors of hate have always worked very hard to get around filters, policies and blocks. They try to assure that their messages do the damage they intended.