Statement about Social Media




Dear Arlington friends and neighbors,


Social media offers a great resource to help people find Information, share ideas, and discuss issues of common concern. Social media may be especially useful for those who are new to Arlington, to help them connect with neighbors and address issues that may be challenging to talk about directly. However, the Arlington Human Rights Commission is increasingly concerned that social media is being used as a platform for hate, bullying, and drowning out other voices.


Over the past few months, the Arlington Human Rights Commission has received reports of:

  • Students posting racist, misogynistic, and threatening comments which in turn were circulated by parents and others.

  • Adults posting anti-Semitic, racist, transphobic, and other hate speech on Arlington social media forums.

  • Social media platforms catering to a broad audience in Arlington limiting certain voices without clear, consistent standards.


The Arlington Human Rights Commission strongly condemns all hate speech and deplores the harm it causes individuals and our community as a whole. We recommend that all platforms catering to large Arlington audiences include clear and transparent moderation guidelines in their terms of service, outlining objectionable content and setting expectations for deletions and other responses to transgressions. We encourage a zero tolerance policy against the most serious violations, such as threats of physical harm or revealing of personal information. We encourage administrators and moderators of social media sites to create guidelines and rules which welcome speech from minority groups by race, gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, disability, socio-economic class, immigration status, and sexual orientation.


Finally, we encourage all users of social media to carefully consider what sites they are using

and how those sites are moderated.


Ways you can help:

  • Educate yourself: see resources below.

  • If you are a parent/guardian, have an ongoing discussion with your children about your expectations and appropriate behavior on social media.

  • Do not share objectionable posts - this only amplifies the violation of others’ personal and emotional safety.

  • Join the AHRC events team to help shape an upcoming Arlington event addressing hate speech on social media. If you are interested, please email ahrcevents@gmail.com


Resources


A Teens Guide to Social Media Safety

Parent Guide to Protecting Teens on Social Media

Facebook Community Standards

Establishing good rules for community forums

Arlington values equity, diversity, and inclusion. We are committed to building a community where everyone is heard, respected, and protected.


Email: ahrc@town.arlington.ma.us

Phone: 781-316-3250

By Mail: 27 Maple Street

Arlington, MA 02476

Arlington Human Rights Commission

The AHRC strives to ensure the fair and equal treatment for all people who live, work and pass through our community.

Emailahrc@town.arlington.ma.us

Phone: 781-316-3250

By Mail: 27 Maple Street

Arlington, MA 02476

© 2020 by Arlington Human Rights Commission. All Rights Reserved.