Slack is the latest tech giant to take on organized online hate. On Thursday, the team collaboration platform announced it had removed 28 accounts “because of their clear affiliation with known hate groups.”
A company blog post stated that use by such groups “runs counter to everything we believe in at Slack and is not welcome on our platform,” noting that the the tool is designed to help businesses “communicate better.” It did not specify the exact content or name of the groups in question.
“We don’t normally comment on how we conduct our investigations, but we want to be clear that the privacy of our customer data is sacrosanct,” a Slack rep wrote in an email to Fast Company. “In this case, we were informed of the possible use of Slack by hate groups and we were able to determine their affiliation on an organizational level.”
Slack’s steps come at a time when many have been vocal about widespread hate and discrimination online. Twitter, for example, permits world leaders to spew hateful and dangerous rhetoric under the guise that it’s “important information people should be able to see and debate.” It’s a policy that has been fiercely debated, with critics believing that such uncensored free speech could have lasting, damaging consequences.
Numerous tech platforms, including YouTube, Reddit, and Google vowed to combat the issue. Facebook, for example, has long had its share of hate groups and trolls, many of whom used the social media entity to organize events. In the wake of the Charlottesville violence in 2017, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to take more action, saying the company scanned and removed posts that promoted or celebrated hate crimes or acts of terrorism.
More recently, Facebook took down 137 fake hate-spewing accounts across Facebook and Instagram in the U.K. And France’s government, currently fighting rampant anti-Semitism, is working with Facebook to develop tools to fight offensive online content.