Muslim public affairs advocate says tech firms have 'responsibility' to combat hate speech

The Washington, D.C., office director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Hoda Hawa, on Monday told Hill.TV that big tech firms have a responsibility to combat hate speech online in the wake of the mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand last week. 

"I think there's absolutely a responsibility," Hawa told hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising." 

"We've been working with folks in these various tech companies to ensure that these ideologies are not necessarily full-out censored, because we know that dealing with bad speech online, the best way to do that is to put up good content, and good speech," she continued. 

"Immediately after the attacks, we were in contact with folks at Facebook and YouTube, to ensure that the videos [of the attacks] were being taken down and that people who were praising the attacks, those comments were being taken down because we didn't want that to spread on the internet and throughout these different platforms," she said. 

YouTube and Facebook came under fire for footage of the shooting being available on the platforms before the companies worked to remove it. 

The companies faced difficulties in implementing a blanket ban and the footage kept reappearing and disappearing online.

"New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video," Mia Garlick, Facebook's director of policy for Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement last week, adding Facebook was "removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we're aware." 

Google also issued a statement saying YouTube removed the "shocking, violent and graphic content" as soon as it was made aware of it.

— Julia Manchester