Nobel winner Ressa decries ‘toxic sludge’ of social media
‘What happens on social media doesn’t stay on social media. Online violence is real world violence’
OSLO: Accepting her Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, Philippine journalist Maria Ressa launched a spirited attack against American tech giants, accusing them of fuelling a flood of “toxic sludge” on social media.
The co-founder of the news website Rappler, who won this year’s prize together with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, attacked the technology industry which “has allowed a virus of lies to infect each of us, pitting us against each other, bringing out our fears, anger and hate, and setting the stage for the rise of authoritarians and dictators around the world.”
“Our greatest need today is to transform that hate and violence, the toxic sludge that’s coursing through our information ecosystem, prioritised by American internet companies that make more money by spreading that hate and triggering the worst in us,” she said.
“What happens on social media doesn’t stay on social media. Online violence is real world violence.”
Ressa said facts and truth were at the heart of solving the biggest challenges facing society today.
“Without facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. Without trust, we have no shared reality, no democracy, and it becomes impossible to deal with our world’s existential problems: climate, coronavirus, the battle for truth.”
Ressa, whose website is highly critical of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, is the subject of seven lawsuits in her country that she says risk putting her in jail for 100 years.
Currently on parole, pending an appeal after being convicted of defamation last year, she needed to ask four courts for permission to travel and collect her Nobel prize in person.
- Read the full text of Maria Ressa’s Nobel Lecture here
Source: Bangkok Post