Internet giants like Facebook and Google have had to step up their fights against hate speech in recent months, but they only occasionally present a united front against bigotry. That might change after today, though. Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter are partnering with the Anti-Defamation League on a Cyberhate Problem-Solving Lab that aims to stem the tide of online hate. The ADL will offer policy considerations and an understanding of how internet hate develops, while the companies will focus on "technical solutions" that keep hateful behavior at bay.
This isn't the first rodeo for either side. Past partnerships led to ADL creating a "best practices" guide for fighting hate in 2014. This effort is more involved, however. They're hoping to develop technology that could block or remove hate, not just recommendations that the firms involved don't have to adopt. Whatever comes out of the lab could have a tangible effect on how you experience the internet, whether it's a reduction in harassment or fewer places for hate producers to hide.
Whether or not any measures will be effective is another matter. Hate speech purveyors tend to be slippery -- they switch providers, accounts and tactics to get their message across when they're blocked or kicked out. If there's going to be a long-lasting solution, it'll have to involve a comprehensive, flexible approach that gives hatemongers more than a temporary inconvenience.