Elton John is fed up with the rampant hate speech being spewed on social media, and suggests that users of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms boycott them, complaining the companies “haven’t done anything to try to stem the flow of hate on the internet.”
Speaking with BBC News, Sir Elton explained that a well-organized boycott would force the social media companies to “sit up” and actually address the problem in a meaningful way.
“I don’t know why they [social media firms] allow it — it’s supposed to be free speech but the things that are on social media are so disgusting that there has to be action taken by the people who own these companies,” declared the “Rocket Man” singer.
“People say, ‘Well, what about my freedom of speech?’ Well, sod your freedom of speech,” declared the 71-year-old rocker.
A boycott, he explained, could be just the ticket. “Why not? Then they’ll sit up. When the money is not coming in they’ll sit up,” he added.
“They can do so much good, but first they have to clean house and become a much more moral and Christian-thinking… a moral thinking compass for what’s going on in the world,” he continued. “At the moment they’re not doing that.”
The singer’s remarks came after he spoke to an audience of politicians, health workers and celebrities in London to deliver the Diana, Princess of Wales lecture on HIV.
“Companies like Facebook and Instagram cannot pretend they are purely private enterprises. I believe they have a public role and responsibility,” he said in his lecture.
“Imagine if they put their mic behind debates that could counter ignorance. Homophobia fuels shame, isolation, cruelty and anger, and therefore HIV,” he added. “But if we found ways to automatically respond to hatred with fact, good could be all the way around the world before falsehood even got its boots on.”