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Professor Mark Skilton on online extremism: “our democracy is at stake”

Mark Skilton, professor of practice at Warwick Business School and digital communications consultant, discusses the ambitious new initiative aimed at curbing online extremism that will be launched during a meeting of world leaders and leading technology chiefs in Paris.

"World leaders are right to be concerned about online extremism. While civil rights concerns remain on the 'red lines' of free speech, this is a step towards taking moral accountability for social media.

“Previous action by Facebook and other social media platforms to ban groups that incite violence have been so slow and sporadic they resemble a ‘whack-a-mole’.

“These social media giants must not be left to “self-regulate” as they are not elected by society.

“We need stronger automated controls to get to grip with the millions of transactions that take place every day that incite extremism and violence or spread fake news. It will require machine learning tools to manage these 21st century problems, combined with the courage to establish independent frameworks that preserve the freedoms we enjoy in the physical world, as well as the online one. We have to get it right, because our democracy is at stake."

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