With regard to hate messages and conspiracy stories on the Internet, providers of large platforms are again being criticized for the use of algorithms. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder said on Monday at the start of the industry meeting Media days in Munich: It is not enough to delete a comment as a platform. “The algorithms have to be changed.” Someone who looks at nonsense is then exposed to a sheer bombardment of nonsense. “He is only provided with such things more.” One slips into a “kind of sect-like spiritual imprisonment. This has to be changed and restructured.”
Söder said he saw platform providers responsible. In the past, people who clearly told nonsense would have written a letter to the editor to an editorial office. Today, according to Söder, they put their shitstorms under the articles on the Internet or they meet on a platform. “And on this platform you suddenly realize that there are thousands who think that way from all corners of the world.” And then they suspected that you were the silent majority and that you had to take action now. From this development “aggressive inflammatory words emerged from confused thoughts”, added Söder.
Vodafone Germany boss Hannes Ametsreiter emphasized in a panel discussion with other media representatives on the area of social media, these are an amplifier and a “trampoline for sometimes socially unacceptable news. This is because you create reach with it.”
The director of Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), Katja Wildermuth, demanded: “We have to disclose the algorithms.” Nobody is for censorship. At the same time, you have to be honest about what apps are offered and how users and viewers are guided economically. Wildermuth also emphasized the aspect of media literacy in society and posed the following questions: How many users know what a source is? Or who can check that photos are real? Public broadcasters and private-sector players in the market have a responsibility.
The algorithms have been criticized by large platforms for a long time. Recently, at the 6th Evangelical Media Congress in Mainz, displeasure arose. The council chairman of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, had said: “The programming of the algorithms, which only serves the purpose of maximizing advertising income, has already massively changed the political and social life of democratic societies.”
Bedford-Strohm criticized right-wing populist movements that undermined democratic values such as human dignity had also been washed up. Nevertheless, the democracies of this world have so far largely “put up with” the dynamics of the social Internet networks, added Bedford-Strohm, who is also the regional bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria. (dpa / rs)