"Corporate CEOs could force Facebook and other tech giants to stop acting like 'digital gangsters.' An ad 'pause' is already having an impact at YouTube."
(New York, N.Y.) – Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Senior Advisor Dr. Hany Farid, the world’s leading authority on digital forensics and hashing technology, argued in an op-ed published in USA Today on March 4 that it was time for corporate CEOs whose advertising dollars propel social media platforms to demand industry reforms. The following are excerpts:
“Social media companies have failed us. How do we fix an industry that has proven that it is unwilling or unable to govern itself? We have tried scathing exposes in the media, #deleteFacebook, congressional hearings, and legislative relief. These efforts have not been enough. Even after years of repeated and spectacular failures on the part of the titans of tech, each week brings a new revelation of even deeper and more troubling problems in the industry.
“It’s time to hit them where it hurts: the bottom line. Advertising constitutes upwards of 90 percent of revenue for social media, and only a fraction of companies account for nearly 15 percent of digital ad spending last year: Expedia Group, Newchic, Cox Enterprises, Walmart, Qurate Retail Group, AT&T, Dyson, Comcast Corp., and Capital One Financial Corp. The CEOs of these companies hold the power to bring change.”
To read the USA Today op-ed in its entirety, please click here.
CEP Invites Zuckerberg to Discuss Removing Extremist Content
In February, following Mark Zuckerberg’s public commitment to hosting a series of “public discussions about the future of technology in society,” CEP invited the Facebook CEO to join top CEP experts for a discussion about the threat posed by extremist content that proliferates on Facebook. CEP’s invitation was the subject of a February 6 article in The Hill:
“Mark Wallace, the head of CEP, called on Zuckerberg participate in a meeting with four experts on extremist content. ‘Facebook needs to work with experts if it wants to rid its platform of extremist materials,’ Wallace said in a statement Tuesday. ‘Individuals at CEP are experts in the policy and science behind online content moderation which can help Facebook better understand how to combat this threat. We would welcome the opportunity to engage with Mr. Zuckerberg directly and transparently to the benefit of Americans who many times are the targets of extreme content inciting terrorist acts,’ he added.”
To read The Hill article, please click here.
Facebook Challenged by Dr. Farid to Rein in Extremism
In an interview with CBS News, Dr. Farid discussed the need for Facebook and other tech companies to do much more to combat dangerous extremist content online. It followed the previously aforementioned invitation from CEP to Mr. Zuckerberg for a public conversation with CEP experts about the threat posed by extremist content that proliferates on Facebook.
To watch the CBS News interview, please click here.
Reining in a Morally Bankrupt Technology Sector
In a January op-ed in the European magazine Our World, Dr. Farid discussed the multitude of problems plaguing the technology industry and the pressing need for sensible regulation:
“Given the pattern of behavior that we have seen over the past nearly two decades, the time of trusting the technology industry to self-regulate is long over. Instead, we must continue to pass legislation that thoughtfully contends with the issues at hand while making sure that any legislation does not cripple small startups thus leading to a further enshrinement of the monopoly that is Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Collectively it is our responsibility to help the technology sector find their moral compass that has been all too broken for the past two decades.”
To read the Our World op-ed, please click here.