Identifying hate on social media before it becomes public safety threat in Huntsville

Better monitoring of social media is part of President Trump's 5 point plan to stop mass shootings.

Posted: Aug 5, 2019 11:48 PM
Updated: Aug 6, 2019 7:21 AM

Part of President Trump's 5 point plan to stop mass shootings in America calls for federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to monitor social media to help identify people who might become threats.

Huntsville Police told WAAY 31 with the right tools they could identify hate speech, or threats of violence, on social media better. The biggest challenge would be identifying who is and is not a legitimate threat to public safety, because there are so much of these types of posts on social media.

When Nya Gordon and her friends scroll through social media sites on their phones they see hatred of all kinds. In some cases, they worry social media can help foster these ideas that could lead to violence, "I feel like that spreads it to where certain cases like that can happen," said Gordon.

Police say the El Paso shooter is linked to a website called 8chan, which has been called, "a cesspool of hate," by tech company Cloudflare, who cut business ties with the website early this morning.

Gordon told WAAY 31 she supports President Trump's plan and would like social media to be monitored more often by law enforcement, "people constantly checking it making sure things like that aren't being posted and said," said Gordon.

Scott Griffin also supports a crackdown on posts about violence and hatred on social media sites but told WAAY 31 its a fine line to walk because of the 1st amendment, "while free speech is important you don't want to give somebody a platform to spew hatred in an environment where they're going to be championed for that," said Griffin.

Cutting these types of posts from social media could help prevent mass shootings, according to Griffin, "I think shining a light on that hatred so that people are aware of it and get rid of it is a good idea."

The website where the El Paso shooter is accused of posting his manifesto minutes before he opened fire was taken off the internet Monday after a London based company cut their access to the internet.

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