Is censorship of access to websites an efficient solution to compel content platforms to curb hate speech? If you’d asked me the question before July 29, 2022, my answer as an ardent defender of unfettered access to the internet would have been: Obviously, no!
But after Kenya’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission’s (NCIC) threat to ban Facebook, concern is allowed. The Commission, after reading Global Witness’ report on hate-filled ads that were accepted by Facebook, and based on its own assessment of the situation, decided to compel the parent company to do more, or it would be banned from the country during the Aug. 9, 2022 presidential election. The election is poised to be contested, in a country where ethnic violence has occurred in the heated aftermath of election results, It is understandable that the NCIC – a government agency created in 2008 to prevent ethnic violence – takes the matter of online spread of hate speech very seriously.
When it comes to mitigating online harms, the U.S. Congress is at least united on one point: