Global freedom of expression the prevention of atrocity crimes and social media challenges and opportunities – global freedom of expression gas definition science


History has told us, painfully, that large scale human atrocities such as ethnic cleansing and genocide are usually preceded by sustained exposure to and a routinization of hatred, expressed and acted upon. This was particularly well documented in the case of Nazi Germany by the German philologist Viktor Klemperer. He wrote, “It isn’t only Nazi actions that have to vanish, but also the Nazi cast of mind, the typical Nazi way of thinking, and its breeding ground: the language of Nazism” [i].

Fast forward 70 years later, to 2018: the world we inhabit has become, digitally networked. e85 gas stations florida Information technologies and Internet in particular have enabled global public discourse on an unprecedented scale [ii]. They have reconfigured the public sphere so that, in the words of an Internet scholar, it is characterized by a “complex interaction of publics, online and offline, all intertwined, multiple, connected, but also transnational and global” [iii].

In this environment, how are we to respond to Viktor Klemperer’s warning? What is or rather what are the languages of Nazism in the 21 st networked century? How do they influence the way of thinking? How do they spread, circulate, take hold of people’s mind so that a Final Solution no longer feels unthinkable and is then acted upon? How should we respond to them while protecting the borderless circulation of ideas and freedom of expression on this formidable digital space?

Event entitled Seventieth anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime (A/RES/69/323) (organized by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect)

As far as atrocity crimes are concerned, there too, there are many gaps in our understanding but these are not directly related to the new technology. Hate speech and atrocity crimes have both been the object of many research and studies. The relationship between the two has been the object of well-known court cases and decisions, from the Nuremberg tribunal [iv] to the International Criminal Court on Rwanda [v]. Still, our understanding of the relationship between the language and speech of hatred, atrocity-justifying ideology and speech [vi], and the actual execution of atrocity crimes remains elusive.

In-depth research into the one 21 st century example of atrocity crimes fueled by social media – that of the Rohingya in Myanmar – has shown that the spread of hatred against the Rohingya through Facebook did not result from Internet structural flaws driven by the general public and bots. gas kush The wide-circulation of misinformation was not organic. It was planned and organized.

The UN-commissioned independent Fact Finding Mission (FFM) into Myanmar found rampant hate speech in Myanmar disseminated through Facebook [viii]. The FFM’s report found that the company’s response to the misuse of the Platform to spread hatred had been “slow and ineffective.” It called for an independent examination of the extent to which Facebook posts and messages had increased discrimination and violence.

Event entitled Seventieth anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime (A/RES/69/323) (organized by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect)

Social Media companies must integrate a Risks and Early Warning analysis in their operations, well resourced, allowing them to identify months ahead the possible “hot spots:” countries, communities or events – at risk of spread of hate, manipulation, propaganda, violence – which could ultimately lead to mass atrocities and genocide. electricity distribution network Such early analysis will permit better preparation, better handling, less knee jerk reactions, more pro-active thinking and less reactive heavy responses. These are complex phenomena demanding complex analysis, but on this journey, they can benefit from expertise and experience outside their bubbles.

Facebook has said it will have 100 Burmese content moderators by the end of 2018. But if the Military has, as the NYT article alleges, as many as 700 people working on these propaganda campaigns, Facebook is clearly “outgunned” [xx]. The company and other social media companies must do more, far more, to protect their platform against clear misappropriation of the technology.

Such investment is on-going as recent statements from the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter or Google testify – underlining how many accounts have been closed off, or blocked for instance [xxi]. These measures must and should be the object of regular reporting, along with the data and information regarding the masterminds, and impact, etc. 9gag Transparency regarding the methodology, extent and impact, along with the existence of appeal processes will go a long way towards establishing effective and trusted mechanisms, protective of an inclusive global public space [xxii].

Social media should seek to protect evidence in relationship to crimes under international criminal law. “Facebook has been criticized in the past for removing posts that could be evidence of war crimes, but it has confirmed it is “preserving data” on the Burmese accounts and Pages it has removed in the latest rounds of takedowns. The FFM has called on Facebook to make this data available to judicial authorities to enable accountability” [xxiii].

There too, steps have been taken to address lies and propaganda spread through social media. Journalists and Media Houses are working with Social Medias as Fact-Checkers for instance [xxiv]. It will take one or more year, and proper independent objective of the workings of these fact-checkers and other mechanisms to determine whether they are effective.

Interventions of this nature may often be more effective when done indirectly by supporting and protecting local actors, credible authorities, active civil society organizations or representatives and journalists who can respond effectively to incitement and atrocity-justifying ideologies: “Even if this only obstructs those who call for violence rather than stopping them outright, it could have significant life-saving impacts” [xxv].

The fact that we are largely living in a digital, networked world does not mean that the old rules have no role, meaning or importance. electricity electricity goodness Accountability remains at the heart of a prevention and response strategy as far as genocide is concerned. No one responsible for inciting mass atrocities, for inciting genocide should ever think or imagine that by virtue of inciting on-line, they can walk free. Those who by omission or commission have contributed to, or failed to prevent it – they too will have to account [xxvi].

[viii] Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, report released on 18 September 2018. The report states, “In a context of low digital and social media literacy, the Government’s use of Facebook for official announcements and sharing of information further contributes to users’ perception of Facebook as a reliable source of information.”

[xii] See for instance research into the Philippines cyber hate and harassment. gas x and pregnancy Jonathan Corpus Ong and Jason Vincent Cabanes, “Architects of Networked Disinformation: Behind the Scenes of Troll Accounts and Fake News Production in the Philippines,” The Newton Tech4Dev Network, February 5, 2018; Propaganda War: Weaponizing the Internet, Rappler, October 3, 2016,

[xxii] David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression has issued a report (A/HRC/38/35) focusing on the regulation by social media companies with a range of recommendations. In particular, he has suggested that the companies must embark on radically different approaches to transparency at all stages of their operations, from rule-making to implementation and development of “case law” framing the interpretation of private rules. He has also recommended that companies must open themselves up to public accountability. “All segments of the ICT sector that moderate content or act as gatekeepers should make the development of industry-wide accountability mechanisms (such as a social media council) a top priority.”