In the wake of President Trump’s ban from Twitter, Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker is calling for more transparency from internet platforms.
Twitter banned Trump permanently following an initial 12-hour ban. Trump is widely blamed by his political opponents for inciting the insurrection at the US Capitol earlier this week, and Twitter banned him over fears his recent tweets would incite further violence that appears to be planned for January 17.
Facebook and Instagram similarly banned Trump for the remainder of his presidency, citing their accusation that he had a role in inciting the insurrection.
Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker is calling for companies to do more to combat hate and violence.
But as reprehensible as the actions of Donald Trump are, the rampant use of the internet to foment violence and hate, and reinforce white supremacy is about more than any one personality. Donald Trump is certainly not the first politician to exploit the architecture of the internet in this way, and he won’t be the last. We need solutions that don’t start after untold damage has been done.
Baker calls for platforms to take the following steps:
Reveal who is paying for advertisements, how much they are paying and who is being targeted.
Commit to meaningful transparency of platform algorithms so we know how and what content is being amplified, to whom, and the associated impact.
Turn on by default the tools to amplify factual voices over disinformation.
Work with independent researchers to facilitate in-depth studies of the platforms’ impact on people and our societies, and what we can do to improve things.
In the aftermath of Wednesday, tech companies are increasingly looking to strike a balance between free speech and not enabling hate and violence. Baker’s suggestions may provide a way forward for many such companies.