Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt is considering using technology to filter out internet content it checks for “hate and harassment”

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet Inc (formerly called Google), published an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he expressed his thoughts on “the raw reality of the internet,” writing that Google “should build tools to de-escalate tensions on social media — sort of like spell-checkers, but for hate and harassment.”

Schmidt was writing in the context of comparing authoritarian governments with those of freer nations. “It’s our responsibility to demonstrate that stability and free expression go hand in hand,” Schmidt wrote.

He specified that the first to be targeted for hate-and-harassment-speech censorship should be social accounts for Islamic State and similar terrorist organizations.

He also said the technology he envisioned would “help those countering terrorist messages to find their voice.”

He cited “empowerment of the wrong people, and the wrong voices” in addition to “further degradation of poorly built societies” as important focus points for using the suggested tools.

Schmidt continued that “drowning out hate” was “within our reach.

“It’s up to us to make sure that when the young girl reading this in Indonesia on her tablet moves on from this page,” concluded Schmidt, “the Web that awaits her is a safe and vibrant place, free from coercion and conformity.”

By James Haleavy