The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, became the first British politician to speak at SXSW on Monday. He used the opportunity to read out abusive tweets, saying he “could go on and on” after reciting six. He urged more regulation of tech companies in his #endthehate speech, saying to not do so would be a “dereliction of duty.”
It’s time to act on hate speech.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 12, 2018
“Ask yourself this,” he told the audience of technorati and digerati in Austin, Texas. “What happens when young boys and girls from minority backgrounds see this kind of thing on their timelines, or experience it themselves? Or someone thinking about becoming a politician? And what about young girls and women who are being driven from these platforms, reversing our long fight for gender equality?”
Underlining that he wasn’t looking for sympathy for the trolling he regularly receives on social media, the Mayor called on his fellow politicians to step up: “There’s been a dereliction of duty on the part of politicians and policymakers to ensure that the rapid growth in technology is utilised and steered in a direction that benefits us all.”
— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) March 12, 2018
In addition to calling out Facebook and Uber, he also cited the Uber and the sharing or “gig” economy as another brand and business model that concerns him, as it “risks being used as cover to break up decades of established and hard-fought rights. We can’t confuse matters by thinking that because a business is smart, disruptive—popular, even—and has a really neat app, it somehow has a right to have a different regulatory status to its competitors.”
Watch his full speech below: