Big Data has been an incredibly useful tool for businesses and consumers alike, as it helps businesses understand their consumers better and allows them to have much more detailed information regarding the consumer market. However, big data has the possibility to control our lives; and that possibility should not be ignored.
“Hate speech” is still a somewhat hot topic, but this article is not about “hate speech” in the sense of what a private individual defines it, it is strictly about how the nation states themselves define it and what sorts of actions they take against it. Let us take a look at the Europe's hate speech laws and its history. Countries such as Latvia and South Africa also take action against “Hate Speech”. The fangs of “Hate Speech” entangles politicians and activists and even comedians. Geert Wilders has been in court because of his opinions on Moroccans, several members of Britain First have been imprisoned, and comedian Count Dankula has been convicted of teaching a dog to mock Nazis.
Several nation states have already started to act on their (new and old) hate speech laws. As time moves on, so will the inactive shock and passive rebellion diminish, leading to further implementations, actions and normalizations of these hate speech laws.
How does “Big Data” come into this? Keyword Analytics and Data Mining. Keyword Analytics is mostly the reason why those annoying Amazon suggestions come up whenever you do a Google search on a book or any particular item that can be bought from an online market, the way it works is that you generally buy keywords in that allows your website to be on the top whenever your bought keyword is used by someone else. Data Mining is starting to transform into the Nuclear Arms race of the Internet for several reasons, one of them being profit. More information about your customers means that you can further optimize your business to fit customer needs. A certain amount of data might be the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful one. The means of getting a hold on this data might be a difficult path. Luckily for them, there are various social media websites and applications that have loads of data that are willing to sell for profit; one of them being Facebook, of course. This means that whatever you post on Facebook and various other websites and apps can be sold or given to various buyers that need this information. Standard business procedure, right?
Not all business agreements is between “company to company” and not all business agreements are “for profit”. Facebook’s data mining scandal gave us another reminder that Big Business looks at your info from a utilitarian standpoint rather than a humanistic standpoint, not a surprising fact, but an important fact to consider lest we forget again. Seeing as how our information and data is more of a resource than property that should never under ethical standards be transgressed on, we should consider possibilities and actualities that can change our lives. Out of many realities, one of them may be our “hateful” speech being limited. James O’Keefe’s journalistic piece on Twitter’s attittude towards “Pro-Trump and Conservative opinions” showcases this reality occuring right now.
Private businesses, groups and companies trade information for profit. So what about this is scary?
One interesting part of that video is that one of the engineers claim that the US government pressures Twitter to ban certain celebrities such as Julian Assange. Discord is a growing social messaging app/social media platform that is also “fighting hate speech”, and while it is relatively small at the current moment compared to other platforms, it is growing at a really fast pace, and it is also becoming one of the top social media platforms to use when it comes to politics as there are countless political Discord servers filled with hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of people. To recap, private businesses, groups and companies trade information for profit. So what about this is scary?
In short, a lot. One question is “who is buying the information?”, a basic simple answer would be “other companies looking for more information on potential customers to see what they like and want”. That’s not the only correct answer, what if businesses like Discord partnered with groups like SPLC and various other anti-free speech organizations? Oh wait, they already do. But what about their ToS? Isn’t there anything that blocks them from doing such a thing?
Discord App TOS
An exhortation to always read the small print if ever I saw one. Let us return now to the journalistic work from James O’Keefe and the part where one of the engineers talk about how they are pressured by the US government themselves. Today’s governments, for whatever reason, does not like dissenting opinions at all, of course saying that openly would be a death sentence, so they hide their intentions under the guise of “Hate Speech”.
Another facet of Big Data and AI in “combatting Hate Speech” are algorithms and machine learning. For people that are unfamiliar with “machine learning”, it is, in basic terms, the computer literally teaching itself what its supposed to do. Four months ago ADL released a video about their new tool to fight “Online Hate”, ADL claims that the learning model is “78%-85% accurate”. That is not a unlikely result.
As Europeans keeps on scratching their heads wondering what they should do, the poison disguised as an antidote is already being used in the USA. Antifa uses “in your face” street violence techniques whilst SPLC and ADL uses more legalistic methods. This double whammy has been successful at pacifying “wrongthink” for a very long time. The modern European mindset is a bit different from the modern American mindset; the American mindset loves to treasure their freedoms and rights, whilst Europeans really don’t put much emphasis on that in their lifestyles. This difference might enable European nation states to fight “Online Hate” using the US’ methods. The damage that European nation states can deal will be much higher than US since European nations have more legalistic ground to fight “hate speech”.
One of the primary methods that I often talk about is the aforementioned “Keyword Analytics”. As we all know either by experience or knowledge, each group has their own niche language and inside jokes. It's a key aspect of friendships in human nature, the ability to find things amusing to which outsiders are not privy. This has visibly developed in the online realms, where Alt-Righters and far-righters have a very specific Imageboard style language-culture that is not that difficult to get a feel of for an average “Correct The Record” worker. If you, as a leader of a group or even as a nation state wanted to detect the persons and identities responsible for wrongthink, all you need to do is to use several algorithms that an engineer can easily manage to create, keywords, and then you will be able to detect tons of people that commit the horrid crime of wrongthink and “hate speech”. Nation states also have the ability to request data from companies such as Google, and they are more than happy to share information, especially if its really needed. AI and Big Data still has a lot of ground to cover; but it will cover it.