Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg wants us to use make love and not war when it comes to dealing with pro-ISIS users on Facebook. This message comes as Facebook admits defeat in the effort to stop the tide of Islamic State accounts and propaganda that is appearing on the social media network lately.
It isn’t like Facebook isn’t trying to combat this hate coming from these terrorists, they simply can’t keep up with the sheer amount of posts and accounts being created. This was revealed at the World Economic Forum in Davos where it was said that Facebook is “doing everything it can to prevent extremist content being published”, but it’s just a drop in the ocean. “When you take one down, another pops up”.
While this technically sounds like a defeat, it isn’t. It just means that the tactics have to change and it also means that the social aspect of the site is needed. Facebook is proposing that everyone ‘like’ ISIS posts, which in itself sounds ludicrous. But there is deeper thought behind this and this tactic has worked in the past. The method that Sandberg calls a “like attack” is simple and it aims to defeat negative posts by clicking the like button and then flooding that page with positive messages.
Sandberg went on to explain that this action in no way is a sign of support for this kind of hate speech, but rather a way to stand united against the enemy. A single branch is easy to break, but when you got a whole stack of branches together, then you got something close to unbreakable. The same tactic was used a while ago against the german NPD, the far-right National Democratic Party, where over 100,000 people “liked” that page that actually didn’t like the message. Instead of posting hate and defamatory posts, they simply flooded the page with messages of tolerance and hope instead.
The effect is simple, right now it’s Facebook that is trying to catch up by banning people and deleting posts. The suggested method would turn it all around and put the ISIS supporters on the defense. They’ll be so busy themselves trying to delete all the positive messages that they won’t have time to spread their hate.
Whether people will accept this proposal and whether it will work, that’s something only time will tell. But I think we all can agree on one thing: The faster we get rid of this plague, the better off we are and the entire planet too for that matter. What is your opinion on this strategy, let us know in the comments.