Social Media Improvements
As mentioned in the last post, Twitter has made vast strides in making their platform a difficult place to promote terrorism. However, Facebook needs to make improvements.
The main reason for this is because of an algorithm. Instead of pro-actively taking down terrorist accounts like Twitter, Facebook has actually been promoting and aiding extremist activity.
The algorithm is designed to put those with shared interests and common values in touch with one another, through the ‘Suggested Friends’ feature. As a result, accounts linked with terrorist activity have been suggested to other terrorist accounts.
Accounts spanning the Middle East, representing different extremist organisations have been put into contact with one another. These accounts can exploit this algorithm due to ineffective regulatory checks on what is posted.
This means that extremist supporters and sympathisers can be easily identified, and propaganda can be targeted to those accounts. By encouraging this support for terrorism, organisations such as ISIS will have more support.
If support for terrorism is more present, Islamophobia will naturally be more of an issue – as fear levels rise. It seems that the more that is done to prevent extremism, the smaller the issue of Islamophobia becomes.
The UK press raise a lot of issues when it comes to Islamophobia, particularly online. This is as a result of a lack of verification when publishing online. Because of the fact that profit is made from more readers, there has become a click-bait focused mediascape.
It’s common for articles reporting on crime to embellish the negatives; unfortunately, it’s also common for negative articles to highlight when the offender is Muslim.
One of the more notable recent cases of this is the Tower Hamlet Fostering Case, in which national newspaper The Times distorted facts.
According to statistics published by The Guardian,
91% of articles in national newspapers about Muslims were negative.”
Moreover, journalist Miqdaad Versi commented on how he “personally complained and won corrections from national papers on more than 40 stories related to Islam and Muslims.”
This further illustrates the issues in the UK press, as we observe a paradoxical circle: the stories heighten an Islamophobic thought process, but the Islamophobic thought process is what is fuelling such articles being published.
It is articles and issues touched on in this post that demonstrate Islam in such a regressive, barbaric manner that fuel Islamophobic groups like the EDL.
If more regulations were brought in to sift these articles out, the unfair representation of Islam would become diminished. These websites have a duty to only promote accurate journalism, instead of demonising a religion in the hunt for profit.