Bridging the gap
So far on this blog, the ways in which the internet and social media can disrupt social harmony has been in the spotlight. It’s true that the media people consume online can have a massive impact on their values and opinions, but this doesn’t always have to be in a negative way. The internet also holds the power to bring equality.
Breaking the EDL Mentality
In the below video, a former EDL member sheds light on how the collective’s thoughts on Islam aren’t completely correct. He discusses how talking to a practising Muslim and an ex-jihadist, Munwar Ali, changed his outlook.
(For more on Ivan Humble’s story, click here.)
This video got a lot of hits on Facebook, and received a lot of UK exposure, shares and views. As a result, people who hold similar regressive views towards Muslims may begin to challenge and research these ideas.
Because of his EDL background and link, this video directly combats the issue on an echo-chamber – previously spoken about here. Whilst many of the people interacting with the video are of no connection to the EDL, videos like this making their way into far-right networks can seriously reduce Islamophobia.
Members of far-right organisations aren’t people that often cross paths with Muslims, unless in protest. Social media has the power to open this gate between cultures, and allow members to realise that what they think of Islam isn’t true.
Above all, the best way to dilute this toxic Islamophobia in society is to educate the ignorant. When stories like Ivan Humble’s become popular, they will without fail change someone’s Islamophobic views. This pushes towards equality in society.
The Global Village
The internet has an enormous amount of information on it, and its capabilities currently seem endless. Because of the worldwide range of internet, we are now living in a Global Village.
Communication with people pretty much anywhere in the world is possible in seconds. This is exploited by terrorists to spread worldwide fear. However, it can also be used to stop cultural ignorance and bigotry.
By creating forums that offer information on misconceptions, Islamophobia can be diminished. Barriers between cultures have been broken down. Equality and unity against terrorists is promoted, as it’s revealed that nearly all Muslims are regular people.
Similarly, news outlets like, Al-Jazeera, that report on incidents in the Middle East highlight that terrorism targets Muslims too. This is a fact that clearly indicates that the belief that terrorists represent Islamic views is completely wrong.
Social Media Responsibilities
Social media sites have a responsibility to ensure that their platforms aren’t being used for extremist propaganda. In this regard, Twitter is a proactive network.
Since August 2015, Twitter has suspended a cumulative 1.2 million+ terrorist accounts. The 12th Transparency Report stated,
We continue to see the positive, significant impact of years of hard work making our site an undesirable place for those seeking to promote terrorism, resulting in this type of activity increasingly shifting away from Twitter.”
Due to tools that take propaganda accounts down, those seeking to promote terrorism have to use lesser known platforms. One of the immediate benefits of this is the potential audience of extremist promotion is drastically reduced.
Facebook could be criticised for not doing enough to target terrorism, but this will be discussed in the next post. Ways in which social media platforms could do more to eradicate Islamophobia and terrorism will be discussed.