‘Too much oxygen’ hate speech online: Biden

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden has said he will ask Congress to do more to hold social media companies accountable for spreading hate and asked Americans to speak out against racism and extremism at a summit to the White House.

“White supremacists won’t have the final say,” Biden said at the “United We Stand” summit of bipartisan local leaders, experts and survivors. Biden said the United States has long had a “direct hate line” against minority groups, a line that has received “too much oxygen” from politics and the media in recent years.

“It’s so important that we keep screaming. It’s so important that people know that’s not who we are.” The event also recognized communities that have suffered hate-motivated attacks, including mass shootings at an LGBT+ nightclub in Orlando in 2016 and at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, earlier this year, in which ten people were shot.

Hate crimes in the United States hit a 12-year high in 2020 in the latest available data, the FBI said last year. Biden was introduced by Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

“His murder resonated around the world, but the hate didn’t start or end there,” Ms Bro said. Attendees gave Biden a standing ovation when he said he would call on Congress to “get rid of special immunity for social media companies and impose much stricter transparency requirements on all of them.”

The White House event comes just weeks after Mr Biden warned in a speech in Philadelphia that hardline Republicans pose a threat to democracy. Biden addressed criticism that the speech was divisive, saying “we can’t stay silent.”

Biden called for a united front against hate crimes and political violence in a speech building on his attempt to portray himself as the champion of moderate values ​​at a time of rising extremism.

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