Sir Elton John calls for social media boycott against homophobic hate speech

Sir Elton John has called for a boycott of social media platforms to pressure the companies into tackling hate speech.

In an interview with Newsnight, Sir Elton encouraged people to boycott social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter in order to force the platforms to address homophobic hate speech.

The veteran LGBT rights campaigner hit out at social media giants, saying they “haven’t done anything to try to stem the flow of hate on the internet.”

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He said: “I don’t know why they 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.”

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He added: “‘People say ‘well what about my freedom of speech?’ Well, sod your freedom of speech.”

Sir Elton John gives the Diana, Princess of Wales lecture on HIV (Courtesy Harry Richards/National AIDS Trust)

Sir Elton then called directly for a boycott, stating: “Then they’ll sit up. When the money is not coming in they’ll sit up.

“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.

“At the moment they’re not doing that.”

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(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for EJAF)

The remarks were made after the singer delivered the National AIDS Trust’s Diana, Princess of Wales Lecture on HIV.

During the lecture, he called on social media giants to implement bold new policies to tackle ignorance and hatred, to end HIV/AIDS once and for all.

The singer, LGBT rights campaigner and Elton John AIDS Foundation founder directly called on tech companies to move towards policies of compassion to do good in the world.

He said: “Social media has become too often an arena that amplifies all our conflicts and builds walls between us.

“Prejudice we thought had disappeared has crawled out from under stones. People are using the privilege of anonymity to say things they would never say in person, or to boast about their privilege in ways we thought we left behind a century ago.”

Sir Elton John with husband David Furnish (Courtesy Harry Richards/National AIDS Trust)

He later added: “Companies like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram cannot pretend they are purely private enterprises. I believe they have a public role and a public responsibility.”

Both Twitter and Facebook, who also owns Instagram, have officially tightened their stances on homophobic hate speech in recent years.

However, the sites still face regular criticism from those who see and experience anti-LGBT hate speech and harassment on the platforms.

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