Our systems for tackling online harm are woefully inadequate
A blog from Jordan Carter, Chief Executive of InternetNZ
Last month a racist video was posted on YouTube targeting Māori with explicit violence. This was not the first video, and there have been more since. This is part of a more visible wave of online hate and violent extremism targeted towards marginalised communities.
This is an abuse of the Internet. Active harm is being done, and the country’s systems for tackling this harm are woefully inadequate to the scale of the challenge.
This challenge is an integral part of making sure the Internet is a force for good. Hate, violent extremism, and death threats are never acceptable, and there is much work to be done to combat this problem online (and offline).
In the views that have been shared with us, and at He Whenua Taurikura (the first national hui on terrorism and violent extremism in Christchurch) in mid-June, two very strong themes stand out.
First, in dealing with these challenges, the voices of the communities and people who are targeted have to be the central voices in designing ways to tackle these harms. Second, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the values and approaches of Te Ao Māori provide a place to stand in understanding and responding to these harms.
The brutal realities of the impact this content is having on communities, communities that deserve inherent dignity and respect, were very apparent during the hui. Responding is work that everyone in New Zealand can do.
Our own organisation has much work to do, too, both on the policies and practices that can help address online harm, and in understanding our responsibilities. We don’t know what this looks like yet. Part of it will be to listen to our community and use our voice to demand better systems to protect all New Zealanders online.
We are prioritising this work.