Barney's Blog

Blog archive

Web of Hate

In 1996 I was news editor at Network World and just starting to use the Internet (I was all CompuServe before that). There was this thing called a search engine where you type in a word or phrase and find stuff.  I tried all kinds of kooky things and then typed in "KKK." I was curious if the KKK had a Web site. I soon found hundreds of hate sites, all recruiting members, selling hate music, T-shirts and linking to one-another, forming a virtual mesh of hate.

I decided this would make a pretty cool story. I interviewed some of the haters and then talked to Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center who mentioned that hate speech might have to be censored on the Internet. The story caused a firestorm, not just by exposing the recruiting tactics, but more so for censorship.

Rabbi Cooper, who was a phenomenal resource, is at it again. This time he's chronicling how social networks are the new "Web of hate."

The article brought back memories and made clear that Rabbi Cooper has a nearly identical view 14 years later. Here is the last sentence of the NYT article: "The goal is to get the collective genius of the Internet to help combat this problem," he said.

Here is the last sentence of mine from 14 years ago: "We need to engage in a consortium, get some of the collective genius that created the 'Net' and the providers to come up with technology strategy," Cooper said. "We will be approaching a couple of thousand companies and asking, do you have rules and will you consider them?"

Do you think the Web should be a free-for-all or should hate speech and other unseemly items be restricted? Send your unguarded thoughts to [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 03/24/2010 at 1:17 PM


Featured

  • Microsoft Warns IT Pros on Windows Netlogon Fix Coming Next Month

    Microsoft on Thursday issued a reminder to organizations to ensure that their systems are properly patched for a "Critical"-rated Windows Netlogon vulnerability before next month's "update Tuesday" patch distribution arrives.

  • Microsoft Nudging Skype for Business Users to Teams

    Microsoft on Thursday announced some perks and prods for Skype for Business unified communications users, with the aim of moving them to the Microsoft Teams collaboration service instead.

  • How To Improve Windows 10's Sound and Video Quality

    Windows 10 comes with built-in tools that can help users get the most out of their sound and video hardware.

  • Microsoft Offers More 'Solorigate' Advice Using Microsoft 365 Defender Tools

    Microsoft issued yet another article with advice on how to use its Microsoft 365 Defender suite of tools to protect against "Solorigate" advanced persistent threat types of attacks in a Thursday announcement.

comments powered by Disqus