The principle of an open and equitable internet theoretically permits people from oppressed groups and the White supremacists who hate them to organize and advocate for their communities online. Noting that the latter group routinely uses this freedom to attack and intimidate the former, a coalition of activist organizations released the Change the Terms policy page yesterday (October 25).
The Center for American Progress, Color of Change, the National Hispanic Media Coalition and over 40 other groups partnered on the package. The groups call on internet companies to prevent hate groups from violating the First Amendment rights of the marginalized communities they represent. From the policy suggestions:
While a free and open internet creates immense social value, it can also be used to engage in hateful activities at a large scale. For example, white supremacist and other organizations inciting hate are using online platforms to organize, fund, recruit supporters for, and normalize racism, sexism, religious bigotry, and anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant animus, among other activities. This chills the online speech of the targeted groups, curbs democratic participation, and threatens people’s safety and freedom in real life.
While some companies are taking steps in the right direction to reduce hateful activities online, anti-hate provisions in most companies’ terms of service are not enough. To ensure that companies are doing their part to help combat hateful conduct on their platforms, organizations in this campaign will track the progress of major tech companies—especially social media platforms—to adopt and implement these model corporate policies and give report cards to these same companies on both their policies and their execution of those policies the following year.
The recommendations include amending terms of acceptable use protocol to explicitly prohibit hateful conduct; providing public reports about enforcement of these terms; and working with experts and organizations trained in recognizing hateful conduct.
Learn more about the proposed policies and the coalition’s petition to internet corporations at ChangetheTerms.org.