In the wake of the Dublin riots in backlash to an alleged immigrant’s knife attack against children, social media giants have come forward to reiterate their commitment to censorship. Tánaiste Micheál Martin expressed major concerns regarding the efficiency of social media platforms in rallying massive crowds in the wake of the disruption.
Meta, TikTok, and Google representatives took center stage before the Oireachtas media committee, addressing the international attention Dublin received. They discussed issues related to media literacy, misinformation, and their response to the riots.
However, the absence of representatives from X at the committee drew criticism from pro-censorship ministers.
Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster associated its non-appearance partly with “ongoing legal proceedings,” seeking further specifics on the matter, and openly expressed her discontent.
“I don’t think that’s good enough,” she said.
The committee had an interface with Dualta Ó Broin, Meta’s head of public policy in Ireland, who articulated how the company has been actively censoring “misinformation.”
He mentioned how 1.1 million Irish Facebook posts were tagged with “debunking” labels during the first half of the year.
However, he acknowledged that handling “misinformation” on WhatsApp, their encrypted messaging service remains a challenge due to the app’s virality factor and privacy from surveillance.
He shed light on the company’s coordinated efforts, sharing that Meta established open communication with the Gardaí (the Irish police) during the Dublin unrest.
Google’s perspective on the matter was communicated by Ryan Meade, Ireland’s manager of government affairs and public policy, expressing the company’s commitment to combat misinformation online, especially during situations like the Dublin incident.
Google monitored both the riots and the harrowing knife attack on Parnell Square East to detect malicious or misleading content but did not observe any such activity on day one.
TikTok’s standpoint was shared by Susan Moss, its head of public policy for Ireland, who spoke on the company’s implementation of crisis management protocols during the unrest to quell misinformation.
“During incidents such as these, we focus not only on tackling harmful or illegal content, but also ensuring our systems prioritize connecting users with high-quality news from authoritative sources.”
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