Harris says her administration would hold social media platforms ‘accountable’ for ‘hate’

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Sunday said her administration would hold social media platforms “accountable” for “hate,” laying out her vision for combatting domestic terrorism at an event in Detroit. 

“We will hold social media platforms accountable for the hate infiltrating their platforms, because they have a responsibility to help fight against this threat to our democracy,” Harris, a 2020 presidential contender, said during the Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner at the Detroit NAACP. 

{mosads}Lawmakers have increasingly turned their attention toward addressing online extremism after a series of alleged white supremacist shooters used social media platforms to amplify their messages before attacking places of worship in recent months.

Harris invoked the series of attacks on minorities during her speech at the NAACP, referencing the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, the mosque bombing in Minnesota, and most recently, the three black churches set on fire in Louisiana. 

“2018 was the deadliest year on record for domestic terrorism since the Oklahoma City bombing more than 20 years ago, and I’m telling you, we can’t feed it, I’m telling you I won’t ignore it, I won’t tolerate it,” Harris said. 

She pledged to “double” the civil rights division at the Department of Justice, then turned her attention to the social media platforms.

“If you profit off of hate, if you act as a megaphone for misinformation or cyber warfare, if you don’t police your platforms, we are going to hold you accountable,” Harris said. 

In March, a gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand, livestreamed his deadly attack on two mosques to Facebook, leaving the major social media platforms scrambling to take down the footage as users seeking to spread the shooter’s message uploaded it at a record pace. 

The episode gave new life to calls for platforms to better police hateful content.

Last week, Facebook announced that it had banned a batch of high-profile figures who they had deemed “dangerous” for spreading hateful and fearmongering messages. The banned individuals included conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer, right-wing media personality Alex Jones, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and others. 

Shortly after Facebook announced the bans, President Trump on Twitter vowed to “monitor the censorship” of conservatives on social media. 

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