REINING IN FACEBOOKDate: Friday, 30th Apr 2021
We welcome the social media boycott from 1500 on 30th April thru to 2359 on 3rd May as Dunfermline Athletic stands with the rest of Scottish Football in the boycott as part of ongoing attempts to stamp out racism in Scotland.
The intelligent articulate Marvin Bartley(Livingston) has spelled out the dangers should we fail.
Every day we read about cyber bullying, revenge porn, anonymous trolling, virtual mobbing and vulnerable teenagers driven to suicide by it. UK Health Secretary ,Matt Hancock, in response to the tragic death of Molly Russell at just 14 in 2017, wrote to the Internet Giants eg Facebook to demand harmful content be taken down.
In the "Andrew Marr Show" in 2019 he threatened legislation, taxation or even banning them. It will take a lot more than a stern letter to cleanse these Augean Stables.
Facebook is reckoned to be worth around £67b with 40m subscribers in the UK. Facebook,based in California USA, has shown itself to be ambivalent about children under 13 illegally opening an account, or members having numerous accounts in false names, or individuals stealing another person`s ID by hacking.
We have a young generation who see nothing wrong with sending indecent images and do so, often with impunity! A person joining has 14000 words of legalised terms and conditions to read, which they won`t.
It means we are subject to US Laws and you no longer own your online life. There is no UK Call Centre to complain to, letters are ignored, and the Public cannot phone the Cyber Crime Police directly, yet 10% of Scots suffer online abuse annually.
Some of that is racist. Even some of the most high profile individuals in Scotland eg Footballers, other Sports Stars, Politicians, Pop Stars come under sustained repulsive attack but how often is a culprit brought to court?
Everyone uses a pseudonym.
The Police won`t contact Facebook directly (despite the popular Agony Aunt pages of tabloids recommending you phone the Police); they cannot delete fraudulent Facebook accounts, and they struggle in Scotland to get a warrant to take the electronic device off a suspect.
Of course, the Police are completely undermined by Legislation which was designed for the print media. Social Media Giants should be treated as Publishers. Laws such as the Computer Misuse Act or Malicious Communications Act are thirty years old. The World has changed.
Police Scotland say that more than 50% of crime in Scotland last year was cyber based. Facebook have argued that UK Legislation is perfectly adequate ,though they concede they have no idea how many complaints they receive in a year nor how many are resolved.
For 15 years, Facebook has contemptuously displayed a complete inability to police themselves, as the tragic experience of Molly emphasised.There is little point us all condemning these social media Giants if, on Tuesday, we return to seeing how many likes we have for that weekend meal we highlighted or if we check weekend crime in Fife on the Fife Police Facebook site.