Facebook has admitted defeat in the effort to stop the tide of Islamic State (Isis) accounts and propaganda appearing on the social network. The social network giant says we should all start 'liking' their posts instead, in a bid to undermine them on the digital war front.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, revealed at the World Economic Forum in Davos that despite doing everything it can to prevent extremist content being published, they face futility in the battle to bring down hate-filled posts from IS (Daesh) recruiters and supporters as "when you take one down, another pops up".
Instead, what Facebook is proposing is for everyone to 'like' IS posts. It sounds controversial and counter-intuitive but it's actually a passive aggressive move Sandberg calls a "like attack" that aims to defeat negative posts by clicking the like button and then flooding that page with positive messages.
Sandberg explains this is in no way a sign of support for IS hate speech, rather a way for strength-in-numbers to change the purpose of a post. As an example Sandberg recalls how united Facebook users descended on the page of the far-right National Democratic Party in Germany. They "attracted 100,000 people to 'like' the page, who did not like the page, and then posted their messages of tolerance and hope".
Facebook also believes another tactic to stamp out the IS scourge on the platform is to highlight personal accounts of those who have joined and then escaped the terrorist group. "The best thing to speak against recruitment by IS are the voices of people who were recruited by Isis, understand what the true experience is, have escaped and have come back to tell the truth ... Counter-speech to the speech that is perpetuating hate we think by far is the best answer."
The end goal being that Facebook no longer has an impact as a soap box for IS support or hate speech, which will hopefully discourage those from using it as a tool as their message is lost. Facebook currently operates a total banning policy on anything that promotes terrorism but with an extensive network of IS recruiters and sympathisers relentlessly creating new accounts as one is suspended, it believes "the best antidote to bad speech is good speech".