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Heather du Plessis-Allan: PM should go after Trump, not Facebook

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan ,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 24 April 2019, 7:55PM
Facebook might not change their minds, but Trump could make them, Heather writes. (Photo / NZME)
Facebook might not change their minds, but Trump could make them, Heather writes. (Photo / NZME)

Underwhelming. That is how I would describe the Prime Minister's plan to crack down on the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

It looks like the grand, global plan is to get Facebook and its mates in a room and make them promise not to carry violent content 

That’s it. That’s the plan. A pledge, like they're a bunch of girl scouts.

Does anyone else think that’s not going to work? Since when did pledges work?

It's like getting preschoolers in a classroom and making them promise to behave themselves. The intention might be there, but unless you promise punishment, there’s nothing stopping them changing their minds in a few hours.

What makes us think a company like Facebook is going to pay any attention to a pledge?

Look at how Facebook has behaved post-Christchurch. Remember, Facebook let the mosque shooter broadcast live on its platform.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has barely apologised, instead, he’s made excuses, said the video wasn’t gory enough to be picked up by the algorithm. And the video, just two days ago, was still on Facebook.

What makes us think that a pledge, some girl guides promise, is going to change how Facebook acts?

What Facebook and the other social media platforms really need is regulation. They need rules and punishments if they don’t follow those rules.

And there’s one place that can really regulate these guys - the United States. That’s where these companies are largely based. What Ardern should be doing, is heading over to there, talking to Trump and getting him to crack down with some rules.

But then, that wouldn’t look as good as a big global summit where social media giants are forced to gather and promise to behave, now would it?

ON AIR: Overnight Talk

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