Selena Gomez has once again called out social media companies for not doing enough to stop the spread of online hate speech. Reacting to the racially motivated shooting in Buffalo, New York on Saturday in which the alleged 18-year-old white perpetrator specifically targeted Black shoppers at a supermarket, the singer tweeted on Monday (May 16), “My heart is broken by the horrific attack in Buffalo.”
In Sept. 2020, Gomez shared a private message she sent to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg in which she called out the Facebook founder and CEO, respectively, with a plea to start a dialogue on the issues of misinformation and hate speech; she continued her campaign last July when she asked why Facebook was allowing misinformation about vaccines to spread on its platform in the middle of a global pandemic that has killed more than 1 million Americans to date. In an update to her ongoing push to hold tech giants to account, in her Monday tweet Selena added, “social media companies have not done enough to deal with hate.”
The comment linked to a tweet from the Center for Countering Digital Hate with the headline: “The failure of social media giants to effectively tackle online hate and misinformation has real-world impacts. Words can kill.” The post referred to a Guardian Op-Ed from the Center’s CEO arguing that the Buffalo shooting might have been avoided if Meta, Twitter and Google had done more to fight online radicalization.
Gomez’s comment came less than a day after John Legend hit out at Fox News commenter Tucker Carlson in which he took the conservative network’s star to task for what Legend said was Carlson’s poisoning of viewers’ minds. The tweets appeared to be a reaction the the Buffalo shooting that killed 10 victims and injured 3 — almost all of whom were Black — in which the perpetrator referred to a discredited racist theory, the “great replacement,” in an alleged 180-page manifesto, a theory that has been a frequent theme on Carlson’s show.
Proponents of the baseless conspiracy theory claim that the U.S. is being overtaken by non-white people who are being brought in to “replace” white voters to achieve political goals. The theory is commonly claimed by white supremacist and anti-immigration groups who believe it is a plot to wipe out the white race. “Followers of this ideology have been massacring Jews, Blacks, Asians, Latinos. When will we ostracize and deplatform these terrorist sympathizers on our TV and social networks?” Legend asked.
A spokesperson for Fox News had no comment on Legend’s tweets, but sent links to several quotes from Carlson’s show in which he denounced “political violence,” including one from January of this year in which he said, “we’ve consistently denounced political violence of any kind, no matter who commits it.”
See Gomez’s tweet below.
My heart is broken by the horrific attack in Buffalo. Social media companies have not done enough to deal with hate. https://t.co/hwpqJVVEEb
— Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) May 16, 2022