Would an internet "spell-checker" stop the spread of hate speech?

In the wake of the recent attacks in Paris and the increase in terrorist activity globally, Google's chairman Eric Schmidt thinks it is time for technology companies to do their part to help stop future attacks.

He believes that by creating a hate speech “spell-checker” it might be possible to curb the spread of extremist material and to limit its reach on the web.

Eric Schmidt delivered his ideas on disrupting the spread of extremist material in an essay for the New York Times. By addressing hateful content on social media and removing videos containing it, he hopes that technology companies will be able to decrease global tensions and prevent the spread of radical ideas to the general public. Schmidt also thinks that is necessary to target the social media accounts of terrorist groups while giving support to those who are working to counter the messages put forward by terrorists. Through the collaboration of governments, citizens, and technology companies it will be possible to ensure that the web does not become a place where hateful ideas will be able to spread and gain a larger audience.

This is quite a different outlook when compared to the way in which many technology companies, including Apple, have defended encryption and the privacy of their users. Consistently Apple has been unwilling to allow access to a locked iPhone without a password. This has made it very difficult to access these devices without consent and has made them more secure.

As the internet has developed and matured, it has also extended its reach and influence over the general public. The clash between an open internet and one that is tightly monitored and controlled will likely continue as the internet has become an integral part of business and our daily life.

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