UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday denounced the role of social networking sites in spreading hatred.
Online platforms are “complicit” in the growth of extremism, Guterres said at a ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the UN General Assembly.
”Today, we face not only violent extremism but also, increasingly, terrorism," he said. The threat is global and growing, he warned, adding that "the digital world is a leading accelerator of this growth.”
“Many parts of the Internet are becoming toxic waste dumps for hate and vicious lies," the Secretary-General noted. They are catalysts which, driven by profit, downplay extremism, he added.
"By using algorithms that amplify hate to keep users glued to their screens, social media platforms are complicit,” he charged. “And so are the advertisers subsidising this business model.”
The UN chief called for more regulation on social networking sites “to stop the hate.”
“We cannot open new outlets for old hatreds and let impunity reign on digital platforms," he stated. "Together, we must set facts against lies, education against ignorance, mobilisation against indifference.”