We have heard it many times from social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter. “Record and report in material that breaks our terms and conditions,” they have said, as though our role is solely based on reporting in hate promoted through their platforms.
You see, here lies the problem. Over 80% of the resources of TELL MAMA goes on reporting in social media hate given the level of anti-Muslim bigotry on-line. The two main platforms through which anti-Muslim hatred are promoted are Facebook and Twitter, yet, none of these social media giants, (with all of their associated profits), take financial responsibility with regard to supporting organisations who are at the front-line of tackling hate.
With 80% of our resources depleted in terms of human resource, financial and research costs, (plus a range of other project related costs), this simply cannot continue on. Facebook and Twitter cannot expect organisations to haemorrhage resources because of their platforms and where their stock response is that more monitoring and bureaucracy needs to take place so that the social media platforms may improve their customer service profiles. This is simply ludicrous and ultimately beneficial for the social media platform with no recompense for the pressures caused to third-party reporting agencies, many of whom are swamped with on-line reports from members of the public.
However, we must also not lose sight of the fact that this Government has not taken a robust approach to social media providers in making clear that they must invest and support hate crime projects at the front-line of tackling bigotry and supporting victims. The discussions with social media providers have been piece-meal, cordial and based on ensuring that these social media giants remain on-side. Money, it seems, speaks rather than ensuring that these multi-billion pound companies pay their duty to society as a means of off-setting the very real problems that these platforms have created for victims of hate and civil society groups.
It is therefore essential that the Home Office, civil society groups working on hate crime work and social media providers meet. With resources shrinking and with social media company profits rising, there is a natural balance in exploring how both Twitter and Facebook can pool a fund in the future. This facilitated dialogue is essential with both the Home Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government being involved.
In the end, the public purse cannot foot most of the bill of hate crime work which is largely happening now. It should be Facebook and Twitter who should foot the bill given the level of resource that their platforms suck out of organisations like TELL MAMA.