(National Sentinel) Threats: Mayor Sadiq Khan of London said that tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google must do more to limit hate speech against minorities but did not push for the same treatment of speech directed at President Donald J. Trump or majority white people.
Speaking at the annual SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, on Monday, Khan read a series of tweets directed at him that contained messages of hate or violence.
“I say kill the mayor of London and you’ll be rid of one Muslim terrorist,” Khan read aloud. “I’d pay for someone to execute Sadiq Kahn.”
As reported by Business Insider, Khan said he did not want to “be portrayed as a victim” or “ask for sympathy, but to illustrate that big tech has further to go in making the internet free of hate speech.”
“But ask yourself this, what happens when young boys and girls from minority backgrounds see this kind of thing on their timelines or experience this themselves?” he said.
The first Muslim mayor of a Western city went on to warn that tweets like the ones he read send a message to minority children that if they look different than others are do not subscribe to the same set of beliefs, they will grow up believed that there is no path for them to better careers, the BI reported.
And he laid the blame for them on social media and tech companies.
“We simply must do more to protect people online,” Kahn said.
Khan said companies like Facebook and Twitter should show “a stronger duty of care,” so that “social media platforms can live up to their promises to connect, unify, and democratize the sharing of information and be places where everyone feels welcomed and valued.”
The London mayor also threatened the tech companies with more regulation.
“We have evolving economies, which means we should have evolving regulations,” he said. “For too long politicians and policymakers have allowed this revolution to take place around us and we’ve had our heads in the sand.”
His criticisms come as conservatives warn that the social media giants and tech firms are banning channels and limiting the reach of their voices under the guise of fighting “hate speech” and “fake news.”
As for Khan, critics of his plea noted that while sincere, his focus appeared to be only on minorities and not on everyone.
In March 2016, as a mayoral candidate, he complained that there are “too many white men” on the Transport for London board.
“I will reshape TfL’s board,” he said during a speech in Brixton. “It needs to better reflect London’s diversity in the interest of Londoners. Did you know there are 16 people on the board of TfL?
“Thirteen of them are white men. Thirteen. Think about it. It only has three women on it. That’s less than one in five,” he said.
Other criticisms include his policy of banning certain advertisements on public transports depicting women under the guise that they amount to “body-shaming.”
“As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end,” he said in 2016.
In 2006, Khan blamed Muslim extremist terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom on British foreign policy.
“We simply cannot ignore the fact that our country’s foreign policy is being used by charismatic [figures] to tell British Muslims that their country hates them,” he told the UK’s Guardian newspaper.
“Current policy on the Middle East is seen by almost everyone I speak to as unfair and unjust. Such a sense of injustice plays into the hands of extremists.”
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