Synagogue shooter and mail bomber both spread hate speech on social media

Synagogue shooter and mail bomber spread hate speech on social media, but big tech didn't react until it after tragedy struck; MIT to let the internet control an actual person on Halloween. What could possibly go wrong?

no evil
Thinkstock

Free speech should be supported, but hate speech is a different matter entirely; once again it seems as if big tech is only taking action against hate speech after tragedy strikes.

Big tech kicks social media site Gab used by Pittsburgh synagogue shooter

After the tragic shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, it came to light that the 46-year-old shooter Robert Bowers freely shared his anti-Semitic viewpoints on social media – specifically on the site Gab. Immediately before going into the synagogue, opening fire, and killing 11 people, he reportedly posted, “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics. I’m going in.”

Shortly thereafter, tech companies acted against Gab, which claims its mission is “to defend individual liberty and free expression online.” PayPal banned Gab for hate speech. Joyent, the hosting provider for Gab, as well as Stripe, also kicked Gab off the platforms.

Gab, claimed that was alerted to the Tree of Life Synagogue shooter’s account and took it down before working with the FBI and Justice Department. Gab added that it “unequivocally disavows and condemns all acts of terrorism and violence” and that Bowers had other accounts on social networks. Gab claimed it “does not allow terrorists on our platform. Unlike Twitter.”

How the feds tracked down the alleged mail bomber

Are you curious about how the FBI managed to find the 56-year-old alleged mail bomber Cesar Sayoc so quickly? The feds pulled a fingerprint from a manila envelope that contained a pipe bomb sent to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters; they used DNA pulled from IED devices inside two envelopes and then started tracking his cell phone.

Additionally, the feds found Sayoc, aka @hardrock2016, on Twitter due to the way he misspelled names. Post office surveillance of mail is also mentioned by the FBI agents who caught the Unabomber as they gave their opinion on how Sayoc was caught.

Like Bowers, Sayoc had used social media to threaten and harass his enemies. Although Sayoc had been reported for tweeting threats, Twitter blew it off instead of suspending the account.

Twitter later issued an apology, claiming an investigation is ongoing to figure out how its fail happened.

MIT to let internet control a person on Halloween. What could possibly go wrong?

When Microsoft allowed Twitter to teach its AI chatbox Tay, it took less than a day for the internet to turn the AI into a racist-spewing hate machine. Now MIT is going full-on tilt with a mass online social experiment which will allow the internet to control an actual person on Halloween.

MIT describes the project, BeeMe, as “the first reality augmented game. In times where algorithms make most of our decisions for us, one individual will entirely give up their free will for a day, to be guided by a large crowd of users through an epic quest to defeat an evil AI.” Internet users will need to “coordinate at scale and collectively help the actor” defeat Zookd, the evil AI accidentally released online.

A teaser tweet referenced “White Christmas,” an episode of Black Mirror during which an implanted device that copied a person’s personality allows the person to be remotely controlled. In MIT’s dystopian video game, anything is allowed unless it “violates the law or puts the actor, their privacy, or their image in danger.”

Starting on Halloween at 11 p.m. EDT, anyone can use their web browser to participate at this site. Business Insider explained:

One is by writing in and submitting custom commands, such as "make coffee," "open the door," "run away," and so on. The second way is by voting up or down on those commands, similar to the system used by Reddit. Once a command is voted to the top, the actor will presumably do that very thing.

MIT believes, “BeeMe will redefine the way in which we understand social interactions online and in real life. It will push crowdsourcing and collective intelligence to the extreme to see where it breaks down.”

Related:
SUBSCRIBE! Get the best of CSO delivered to your email inbox.