Social media companies must show their commitment to tackling online abuse – Higgins

19th May 2021 - Emer Higgins, TD

Social media companies must commit to combatting online abuse and removing repeat offenders, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Fine Gael Spokesperson on Social Media Deputy Emer Higgins has called on the social media companies operating in Ireland to support the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill and make clear their intentions to combat online abuse.

“Social media platforms are a brilliant resource and a means to connect, and I’ve had great engagement with Facebook and Twitter and Tik Tok myself in my role as social media spokesperson,” said Deputy Higgins.

“I know they have ambition to tackle these issues, but when the positives are no longer outweighing the negatives it is well time to take action and they must support the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill.

“Abuse is not just opinion, hate-speech is not opinion, death threats are not opinion and social media companies must do more to protect users and ensure that online abuse is not conflated as free speech.

“I want to see clear intention from social media companies on their commitment to tackle the rampant abuse that happens on their platforms and commitment to addressing the ease of anonymity that allows people to target others online.

“In recent weeks we’ve seen the effect and scale of abusive content on social media platforms and the horrific content that moderators must watch. And while I’m glad we have people in these roles, it shows the extent of the abusive content that is out there.

“Social media is ingrained in our everyday lives and it’s clear that these platforms aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. We must act to make the online space safer for our children and young people but that requires the full compliance and will for change on the part of the social media giants,” Deputy Higgins concluded.

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