BCS welcomes CSPL report: Solving the problem of intimidation via social media is everyone's responsibility

13 December 2017

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, has welcomed a report produced by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) which recognises that solving the problem of intimidation of MPs via social media platforms should be a shared societal responsibility.

Adam Thilthorpe, Director of External Affairs at BCS said of the report: “It is a thoughtful exposition of an increasingly important issue, and it needs a thoughtful response. The organisations running these technology platforms have strong and positive values, and have not set out to create platforms for hate speech and abuse. It’s not possible to ‘un-invent’ social platforms, but it certainly is possible to work together to minimise and mitigate harms. It is only possible to do so by working together to address these issues, and the report highlights that everyone has a role to play, not just the platforms.

“As The Demos / BCS report: Signal & Noise identified in May this year - ‘... society, and by default, elected representatives are increasingly influenced by social media. Whilst this potentially presents vast new opportunities for MPs, it also presents fundamental challenges, as existing social media platforms are not tailored to politics.”

“The CSPL report calls for everyone to play their part in setting high ethical standards and identifying new ways of working together; to build a better world. All the players - political parties, politicians, the traditional media and the social media platforms - each have an important role to play.

Adam continues, “We believe the best way to do that is to get together to understand what that might look like. That’s why for the past few months, BCS been talking to the main political parties and platforms about organising a dialogue to air these issues.”

Chris Rees, President-elect of the BCS added: “We have an ethical responsibility within the technical community to the society that we serve. We need to create opportunities for people to act ethically and to put their values into practice, and support them in so doing.”

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