Biden vows to end social media immunity for ‘spreading hate’

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The White House has repeatedly called for the repeal of Section 230, a law protecting online businesses from liability for content posted by users.

US President Joe Biden has called on Americans to speak out against racism and says he would ask Congress to do more to hold social media companies accountable for spreading hate.

“White supremacists will not have the last word,” Biden said Thursday at the United We Stand Summit of local leaders, pundits and survivors.

Biden said the United States has long experienced a “continuous line of hatred” against minority groups, one that had received “too much oxygen” from politics and the media in recent years.

The event also recognized communities that have been victims of hate-based attacks, including mass shootings at a gay nightclub in Orlando in 2016 and at a convenience store in Buffalo, New York earlier this year, in which 10 black people were shot by an outspoken racist.

Hate crimes in the US hit their 12-year high in 2020, according to the latest available data, the FBI said last year.

‘Silence is complicity’

Attendees gave Biden a standing ovation when he said he wanted Congress to “hold social media companies accountable for spreading hate.”

“I call on Congress to lift special immunity for social media companies and impose much stricter transparency requirements on all of them,” Biden said.

The White House has repeatedly called for the repeal of Section 230, a law protecting online businesses from liability for content posted by users, and has also supported the stepping up of antitrust and transparency enforcement at tech companies.

The White House event comes just weeks after Biden warned in a Philadelphia speech that “extremist” Republicans are a threat to democracy.

Biden responded Thursday to criticism that the speech was divisive.

“Silence is complicity, we cannot remain silent,” Biden said. “There are people who say we are bringing this up, we are dividing the country. If we bring it up, we silence it.”

Several major technology companies also participated. YouTube said it was expanding its efforts to combat “violent extremism” by removing content that glorifies acts of violence with the aim of inspiring others to harm, fundraise or recruit.

Microsoft said it was expanding the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to detect credible threats of violence and using gaming to build empathy.



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