This website is a nightmare this week from all the targeted harassment campaigns coordinated off-site, and unchecked by these platforms. It has made me profoundly sad, and it's extremely hard to deal with.
I wrote about it once and probably won't again.https://t.co/J2bjFPVe2A
We know it's targeted bullshit from 4chan, Mercer babies, Pewdiepie teenz, and other people who have the time to post racial slurs at you all day in your mentions.
But the capacity for a brain to process that in real-time is just not possible in the torrential downpour of hate.
Of course, they know this. That's the point. Create an artificially enormous amount of hate and threats and they'll trick you into believing that's reality. They know also know that Twitter and Facebook and YouTube can't or won't keep up. It works. So why stop?
On days like this, I wonder: The teens migrating from YouTube conspiracy videos and boomers migrating from freedompatriot.gun, both due to the wonderful world of algorithm gaming: Will they gain a silent militant near-majority without anyone even knowing? Have they already?
Absolutely nobody is taking this seriously enough, especially the people running the platforms that have created this sort of guerrilla basement platoon of empathy-free children who think school shootings are false flags.
Social media execs will never take their role in radicalization seriously for a simple reason: It's a defense mechanism.
They did not intentionally create something that is used as a weapon of division and violence. They'll accept any alternate explanation that works as a balm.
Others are blissfully naive. They don't understand that their kid hanging out on KiwiFarms all day is stalking a trans person he hates, because they don't know what KiwiFarms is. Regular people have jobs and lives, and can't comprehend the hate their kids regularly stumble onto.
Kids are regularly forced to accept or reject subtle pathways to hate from YouTube, almost always before they understand they are pathways to hate. These are not conscious decisions and they are making them regularly, without oversight from parents or companies.
At base, I bet they at least hate the press. That's sort of a given, right? The idea that we're all sitting in an office and trying to invent lies all day. Even if they reject a Reddit forum with swastikas all over it, they'll still trust the same sources that subreddit trusts.
There is just no recognition, and the people who can stop it, namely tech execs, will never do it. It's an erosion of democracy and trust and common good that no one will stop. It's making millionaires out of the people that run the platform, as they wave off any and all warning.
A part of my job now is to cover the extremists who got their ideas from social media and took it out on people in real life. The synagogue shooter. The pipe bomb guy. So many school shooters I can't count.
Yet I'm browbeaten by executives: Social media isn't real life!
Every time it's a variation on a theme. Video games to YouTube to 4chan to targeted harassment campaigns to complete social isolation to Discord chats to niche far-right forums where you get called "an hero" if you kill enough people.
Yet it's never these companies' faults.
So, as a reporter, when social networks do the bare minimum, I give them the benefit of the doubt. I go on TV and I say, "look, they're trying."
Then another shooter with a YouTube account. Another widespread harassment campaign getting the next one riled up.
Is that trying?