Sadiq Khan shows the need for curbing hate speech

SXSW or South by Southwest Festival is mostly regarded by the general public as a music event, but in reality the festival has tracks for Interactive (marketing/code/design), Film, and Convergence (culture/politics) in addition to Music. SXSW has become the place where people talk about the latest technologies and the problems that arise due to it.

Usually, the Mayor of London doesn’t attend the South by Southwest Festival. However, Sadiq Khan, the current mayor of London, decided to attend SXSW because he wanted to draw attention to a serious problem.

Sadiq Khan made a stand at the SXSW festival against hate speech , which is quite common online. In 2016, Khan became the first Muslim mayor in a European capital.

The mayor wants to bring about tighter regulations in various social media platforms to control hate speech. He compiled a series of tweets he got from various Twitter users, to demonstrate the need for such control. He also posted the video on Twitter, following the format of Jimmy Kimmel Live!‘s popular “Mean Tweets” segment.

At first, the tweets seem harmless as users call him, a “really shit stunt double for José Mourinho,” a “sparrow,” and a “pigeon.” As the video goes on, the comments transition from harmless to Islamophobic abuse, which Khan had addressed during the conference.

“Kill the Mayor of London and you will be rid of one Muslim terrorist,” was one of the tweets that Khan read in the video.

Khan raises awareness on the need for stricter regulations

Towards the end of the video, Khan isn’t asking people to sympathize with him or that he wants to look like a victim. He wishes to draw the attention of the public to a bigger problem, which are young children from minority communities, who get exposed to such comments online.

Khan wants stricter action so that people don’t have to deal with hate posts online. Khan welcomed the move by social media platforms as they are developing technology to report and remove hate speech effectively and quickly.

Khan believes that technology companies have the resources and skills to make this type of development go faster. He also warned the companies that if they don’t take action against such content quickly, countries will have to follow the likes of Germany, which gives 24 hours to websites for removing banned content, before they are fined.

He also criticized policymakers and politicians, who haven’t done much, despite the significant revolution in technology.

Follow the Conversation on Twitter