Take our survey

Social media companies put profits before people

Social media companies put profits before people

It's nothing to do with me - (or our approach to privacy) seems to be industry response to abuse


I'm pro technology and pro social media. But with all good things comes bad. People use technology to harm others - that's a fact. So, why is the Internet industry so reluctant to talk about when things go wrong?  The cynical part of me says it's always down to money. If they admit there is an issue they have to be willing to address it. Frankly, they don't want to.

Don't get me wrong, there are some great people within the industry and many would like to do more; but the organisations won't let them and there is a pressure for them to maintain the status quo of "we only provide the service - what people do with us is not our responsibility". 

I asked a well-known company to review some advice I developed regarding safer use of their product. The response was "it doesn't support our brand positioning, so we won't assist you"

Another high profile company told me it was up to the police or local councils to deal with harassment, stalking, domestic violence, revenge porn etc. I pointed out the police's job was to investigate crime, not tell people how to secure their devices and online accounts. I was met with silence.

I'm not going to name and shame these companies because it is an industry-wide issue, not just a few companies within the industry.

Industry creates products, these products are misused to hurt people, yet they feel they have no obligation to help mitigate the harm - unless it is the emotive issue of children and child abuse images.

Why does the Internet industry feel that criminal and consumer responsibility is not applicable to their industry? The financial industry is highly regulated and have had to put in place initiatives to address money laundering and fraud. Products have to go through safety testing before they go on the market and/or meet UK/EU standards. So, why don't we place the same requirements on the Internet industry?

I would like the industry to be self-regulating but that isn't working. Let's be honest - the only reason why the IWF was founded was because the police threatened to sieze an ISP's servers and prosecute the management.

I can give you a list of people whose business or reputation has been ruined, got fired, assaulted or murdered. Then there are those young and old who committed suicide, all as direct result of being online.

So, yes it is the police's responsibility to investigate a murder, I would just like to see more effort put into place to prevent the murder in the first place.

First published on November 13, 2015

 The Downside of Digital Impacts On Everyone

The Downside of Digital Impacts On Everyone

Why it's time to legislate to get social media companies to do the right thing

Why it's time to legislate to get social media companies to do the right thing