At the World Economic Forum and international billionaire side-hug exercise in Davos, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg cited “like attacks” and positivity as ways to fight hate groups online. I know tech companies are struggling to meet the US government’s increasingly forceful pleas to eradicate terrorist activity on the internet, but this is getting ridiculous.
Sandberg used German Facebook users who screwed with a neo-Nazi Facebook page as an example of an effective counter-attack on extremist speech. The German users ‘liked’ the neo-Nazi page, and posted nice things where there would ordinarily be racist bile. “What was a page filled with hatred and intolerance was then tolerance and messages of hope,” Sandberg said.
This isn’t just unfeasible, it’s a preposterous proposition. For starters, finding the Facebook pages to pinpoint would be difficult. ISIS recruiters don’t initiate their efforts by saying “JIHAD! AMERICANS SUCK! JOIN US! JIHAD!” Many online communities serving as ISIS recruitment incubators are not explicitly violent, and Facebook bans obviously ISIS-affiliated groups anyways.