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How Canada could remove 'extremist content' from social media

Halifax Social media consultant Anita Kirkbride says there are risks and benefits to moderating our online world
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Halifax Social media consultant Anita Kirkbride says there are risks and benefits to moderating our online world.

With the recent Christchurch shooting livestreamed on Facebook, some people are concerned about what's allowed online.

Kirkbride, who also runs Halifax-based Twirp Communications, says it's easier than ever for those events to reach around the world within seconds.

"It's certainly the way that serial killers or mass shooters get their fame now, as compared to being talked about in the newspaper or on the TV news previously," she tells NEWS 95.7's The Todd Veinotte Show.

Places like Facebook already have content moderation in place, but Kirkbride hopes they find better ways to stop disturbing content from spreading.

"If there's other people out there in those same circles who see how far is goes, they can be thinking, 'Jeez, if I do this and I do it right, I can get more views than that,' and that's terrible," Kirkbride says.

She also tries her best not to share names of mass shooting perpetrators, which can glorify them.

"That's part of what they want, is the fame of having their name remembered forever," Kirkbride says.

But she also adds that there are people sharing these videos to warn others, not to promote the content.

"I can see how some people might think there's value in sharing this to bring awareness to the fact that this stuff is happening," Kirkbride says.

Kirkbride says she often scrolls through her social media and sees photos of car accidents or injured animals.

"The intent is good, but that doesn't mean sharing it is," she says.

However, Kirkbride says Facebook and other social media sites like Twitter and Instagram must be careful where they draw the line.

"Who at Facebook is going to decide if me talking about how I punish my kids is extreme? Or if me talking about the environment, if I'm too extreme?" she says.

And, Kirkbride adds, the platform can't be held to account for what some of its users are uploading.

"We can't simply shut down Facebook because some people use it in a bad way," Kirkbride says. "There are lots of things out there that people do share on livestreams that are useful, that are entertaining, and that are good."




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Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

After graduating from journalism at King's, Victoria Walton now works in the film industry and as HalifaxToday.ca's weekend editor.
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