Last Week Tonight's John Oliver, On Internet Harassment

We're big Last Week Tonight fans in this team, and as predominantly our work is on Social Media, this piece hit home.

We stopped counting the violent threats our team members get long ago. In a recent post "Twitter, The Olympics and Hate Speech" we outlined how easy it was for Social Media companies to pro-actively track copyright violations - and how reticent they were, for some reason, to use the same techniques on tracking hate speech.

Why are we interested in this? Because most online harassment is excused by the throw-away phrase 'it's free speech' - the calling card of the Right Wing. Most of it is racist, islamophobic, antisemitic, misogynistic and homophobic. All of the Far Right's favourite things.

The issue is that Twitter and Facebook, as commercial organisations, can rightly make their own rules on what is acceptable and what is not. When an account such as Breitbart's Milo gets thrown off Twitter - it's not 'curtailing his free speech' - he can go spout his rubbish anywhere else he chooses. Within the law.

Just not on that Social Media platform.

That's not 'curtailing his free speech'. That's applying the rules that the account holder agreed to.

If only Social Media companies did so more often, more pro-actively.