Google could lose as much as $750 million (£597 million) because of a boycott by advertisers, according to Nomura Research. Companies are protesting against the placement of their ads next to extremist and hateful content. An even worse offender is Facebook, which had enabled the propagation of fake news that may have influenced the outcome of the U.S. elections. The two companies have reaped massive profits from the spread of misinformation; yet they have claimed both ignorance of how their technology is misused, and an inability to control it.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Social media was developed with the promise of spreading democracy, community and freedom, not ignorance, bigotry and hatred. Connecting billions of people together and allowing them to share knowledge and ideas, it could have enabled them to achieve equality and justice; to expose what is wrong and crowd-solve global problems.