ABC gives green light to hate speech

March 28, 2014 by  
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The Online Hate Prevention Institute  recently targeted the ABC  for sparking Facebook hate,  assuming that having moderators automatically meant there would be no hate speech on the ABC Facebook page.
abcThe posts by the ABC and comments in response from users related to a highly controversial ABC Four Corners program titled “Stone Cold Justice”.  The assumption was deeply flawed because it assumes moderators both see 100% of comments and get it right 100% of the time. This is clearly absurd as a number of examples of content they failed to remove made clear.

Our comments quoted in the media made clear the need for adequate moderation, not simply a “best effort”:

“Their usual levels of moderation will be inadequate, and it is unacceptable for them to simply do their best with these limited and insufficient resources once they choose to open that can of worms.”

The ABC is now back in the firing line over user comments in a related post that remained online for a month. We are please to see the ABC has now dropped their absurd assumptions but they need to do more.

Their current position is that only comments on fresh content will be moderated: “the agreed protocol requires a reasonable moderation of comments for a period of time around a program’s broadcast, but accepts it is not possible for the moderators to guarantee the page is free from offensive posts”

As the Executive Council of Australian Jewry has reported, an example of a comment was: “Thugs, criminals, persecutors, oppressors, murderers, and terrorists sum up the jews (sic) for me”.

This approach gives a green light to racist comments, like that above, provided they fall outside of the moderation window. If this is the best the ABC can do, they need to get out of social media entirely. It would be completely inappropriate for the Australian tax payer to be funding platforms that would turn a blind eye to bigotry.

Facebook allows moderators to see comments in the order they are posted, so there is no technical reason to limit moderation to comments on recent articles. The ability for new comments on old content to be propagated and shared when made to old posts means this content still has visibility and the ABC still has an obligation. The ABC must moderate all new comments, regardless of the age of the original post to which they reply. This is basic common sense.

If the ABC would like some advice on how they can handle social media they are welcome to give OHPI a call. For now what we continue to see is clear evidence that those making the policy decisions really don’t understand how social media works. With the amount of money the ABC spends in this area that is itself deeply concerning.





4 Responses to “ABC gives green light to hate speech”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    Irrespective of the negative comments in this instance, I for one am grateful for the heartwarming and in part sad actual exerts of history referred back to in Geraldine Doogue’s Compass this evening.
    With so many with the attitude to forget the past and disbelief of the extent of ante=semitism engulfing the church that was bluntly but not offensively made clear, it is an opportunity to understand in the church’s own environment, the thoughts at the time and many years later.
    Good on the Irish for taking them in, even if only for a short time, now regretted.

  2. The level of ignorance about Jews in general and Israel in particular in the general public is astonishing. Many disinterested individuals, no matter how educated in other fields they may be,- seem to pick up every negative as a given, without ever coming across a personal experience of a credible rebuttal. I keep coming across this with new non-Jewish acquaintances who are astonished when I show them another side of Israel or explain where anti-Semitism stems from or even what it is. The constant referral to “the powerful Jewish lobby” doesn’t help when we try to stop the ABC from targeting us! They don’t want to appear that they succumb to our ‘lobby’!

  3. David Karas says:

    If the post that ECAJ objected to substituted ‘the arabs’ for ‘the jews’, would there be the same level of outrage and demand for ABC to censor its Facebook content? I would hope so.

    And given ABC’s antipathy toward Israel and support for Palestine would that amended comment even make it to publication, or would ABC remove it first?

  4. terry dean says:

    the A.B.C. is nothing short of a discrace,it should have its lic, pulled and every person working there sacked.this might seem a bit hard but theres no room for these sort of comments,it would serve as a lesson for anyone thinking of taking up- a position with a company with such anti semetic views.

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