Social Media

Social Media Isn't To Blame for the Deadly Stabbing of a British Member of Parliament

Attempts by British lawmakers to erase online anonymity would lead to radical speech being pushed underground.


British member of Parliament David Amess was stabbed to death Friday, allegedly by a 25-year-old British citizen of Somalian background who might have become radicalized into supporting Islamic terrorism.

The crime is still under investigation, but we do know that the Conservative M.P. wasn't killed by an anonymous comment on Facebook. Nevertheless, a number of politicians have responded to Amess' stabbing by condemning anonymous speech on the internet and proposing regulations to ban it.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel, who is essentially the head of law enforcement and national security, said she's now considering regulations that would potentially force tech companies to hand over to the authorities information about anonymous users. The Independent reports "that any restrictions on anonymity would be 'proportionate and balanced'" according to Patel, "after shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy warned she risked catching pro-democracy campaigners and whistleblowers who have a legitimate right to conceal their identities when exposing wrongdoing online."

Parliament is in the early stages of hammering out an "online safety bill" that will force social media platforms to serve as official government censors or face penalties, reports The Guardian. A pre-legislative review is scheduled to conclude in December, after which legislation may formally be introduced.

But what does all this have to do with Amess' killing? At the moment, absolutely nothing. For years, British lawmakers have been trying to force citizens to give up their online privacy in the name of fighting hate speech. Lawmakers want "back doors" to bypass online encryption in order to access citizens' data to fight crime. But many tech and privacy experts have warned repeatedly that this will render people vulnerable to hackers. The British government, much like the U.S. government, will use any crisis as an excuse to push forward aggressive tech regulation even if it has very little to do with the incident at hand.

Interestingly, the suspect, Ali Harbi Ali, had been evaluated at some point in the past through a government program that watches for radicalization and extremism. The Independent reports that he had not been considered a security risk at the time. It may ultimately be the case that the failure to recognize Ali's radicalization was the government's, and that politicians are trying to distract from that revelation.

For a moment, though, let's assume that Ali was anonymously posting radical content online, and that's why he escaped detection. The assumption that stripping anonymity away from Facebook and Twitter will make it easier to catch and stop men like Ali is misguided. Instead, what we'll get is the same thing we get whenever government tries to ban something: black markets. There will most certainly be a black market for anonymous speech fragmented across any number of smaller apps and platforms that the government cannot possibly keep track of.

"Even those who do not face being disowned or fired for their online speech may silence themselves if an identity verification policy is implemented," writes Matthew Feeney, director of the Cato Institute's Project on Emerging Technologies. "Anonymous and pseudonymous accounts allow social media users to explore difficult and complex issues such as politics, race, sexuality, religion, and others without having to fear that comments they make and questions they ask as they seek to learn more will later be used against them."

This is most likely to play out with British authorities trying to make examples of whatever rude posters they can to show that their new anti-anonymity laws "work," while the more dangerous radicalization moves underground where it's harder to catch. And then when another incident like this happens, lawmakers will just say they need harsher laws to prevent this type of behavior.

Beware when any government official says they can determine some sort of objective "balance" when determining the circumstances by which somebody may remain anonymous. It will inevitably skew in favor of punishing those who anger those with the most power.

NEXT: Dems Try To Pass Off $10,000 IRS Reporting Threshold as Merely Going After the 1 Percent

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

Please to post comments

68 responses to “Social Media Isn't To Blame for the Deadly Stabbing of a British Member of Parliament

  1. They need common sense knife control laws.
    Oh. Wait.

    1. Carving out knife control restrictions will require cutting through red tape. Steakholders have an edge when it comes to folks slashing their rights. Opponents will have to be sharp and on point to even take a stab at this.

      1. I was waiting for your cutting remarks.

        1. I honed my skill for that one.

            1. Of this I am keenly aware.

              1. Only because you haft to be.

                  1. SPECIAL REPORT: At Last...A Diet That Works. Here's How A Local 04 Mom Stumbled On To Secret Diet Used By Rachael Ray To Lose Up To 27 lbs.iil In 1 Month! Dr. Oz Is Calling It "#1 Miracle Fat Burner In A Bottle....

                1. It is due to my good temper.

                  1. These are 2 pay checks $78367 and $87367. that i received in last 2 months. I am very happy that i can make thousands in my part time and now i am enjoying my life. Everybody can do this and earn lots of dollars from home in very short time period. Your Success is one step away Click Below Webpage…..

                    Just visit this website …… READ MORE

                    1. I read this twice, not seeing the pun.

              2. You really played this one to the hilt!

    2. +1 poke in the eye with a sharp stick

    3. The knife isn’t the problem. It was the bloodthirsty Muslim wielding it.

  2. No. Though coddling a violent religion may have played a role.

      1. Visualize whirled peas?

  3. I saw the headline and I hate to say it, I can only agree or disagree depending on who got stabbed, by whom and why.


    British member of Parliament David Amess was stabbed to death Friday, allegedly by a 25-year-old British citizen of Somalian background who might have become radicalized into supporting Islamic terrorism.

    No definitely not.

    1. Now those Jan 6 attackers? Facebook needs to do more to stop misinformation and radicalization.

      Thank god the whistleblower (who totally wasn't dispatched to Washington by Mark Zuckerberg himself just as Facebook is releasing ads demanding section 230 be changed so the federal government becomes responsible for content moderation on social media platforms) is here to reveal all the ugly troof about Jan 6!

      1. Now that DoJ and the FBI have both admitted no large scale coordination was involved with J6, no determined measure to capture the VP or change the election... I wonder if Reason will retract their previous articles.

        1. That is like wondering if Nancy Pelosi will embrace individual freedoms.

          1. Reason is suffering from paradigm lock. They had to pass on the misinformation to find out what was in them.

      2. I’ve been saying for years that Zuckerberg wants FB to be regulated by the feds similar to a utility. Which will keep them in business forever and crush any upstarts. Now it’s probably about to happen.

  4. Social Media Isn't To Blame for the Deadly Stabbing of a British Member of Parliament

    The real villain is deep-pocketed knife manufacturers.

    1. Those Swiss bastards!

      1. They are too cleaver to get caught.

        1. Seriously…cut it out!

    2. They like to Buck responsibility.

    3. David Bowie on line 2 says stop mispronouncing the name.

    4. Ginsu?

  5. The thinking is that Ali was radicalized watching videos of a radical Islamist religious leader on YouTube. One of the bizarre things going on here is to downplay the hate filled motivation of Ali because of fear of a backlash against Muslims. That is, they do not want to talk about what to do about an actual hate crime because it might inspire retaliation, but they do not seem to have that problem.going in the.other direction. The result is British officials grotesquely twisting themselves in knots trying to avoid addressing Ali's ideological motivations.

    1. The result is British officials grotesquely twisting themselves in knots trying to avoid addressing Ali’s ideological motivations.

      That has been the bog-standard response for a good long while now.

  6. "British member of Parliament David Amess was stabbed to death Friday, allegedly by a 25-year-old British citizen of Somalian background who might have become radicalized into supporting Islamic terrorism."

    While this death is certainly tragic, we must also realize that Muslims are the victims as well because of the inevitable Islamophobic backlash.

    And just in case any alt-right white nationalist seizes on this to portray open borders in a negative light, remember the benefits of immigration. No, I'm not talking about cost-effective labor for billionaire employers like's benefactor Charles Koch. I'm talking about how hockey would literally have died out in Canada — if Indian immigrants hadn't saved it.


    1. #milliondollarslapshot

  7. Sounds like they were looking for an excuse to do this anyway.

    1. Yes, like the Patriot Act was largely an existing wish list from the intelligence and law enforcement agences.

      1. As long as some turn words into criminal action, then it will always be part of a wish list to assume 'if only we could predict that better by vacuuming up everything'.

        Opposing that sort of wish list is never gonna be as absolute as the innocent until proven guilty of courtroom procedure.

        'Rather 1000 guilty people go free than one innocent be jailed' sounds pretty innocuous. Compared to 'Rather 1000 innocents be murdered than one innocent be jailed'

  8. Social media isn't to blame for the deadly stabbing of David Amess.

    Islam is.

    1. Call me crazy, but I think the individual who stabbed him is responsible. Everyone bears a personal responsibility not to go around murdering people and has no one else to blame if they do so.

      1. You're both wrong. It was systemic racism.

      2.'re crazy zeb.

        Yes...individuals are responsible for their own actions. This perverted ideology seems to attract a lot of malignant individuals who kill lots of other people.

        1. Sure, I'd go so far as to say it encourages it.
          People need to stop tiptoeing around Islam. They also need to stop providing excuses for people like this, or painting them as victims of radicalizing bad guys (I'm not saying that this is what you were doing).

  9. Studiously avoiding the word "passport"

    Seattle, King County officials demonstrate vaccine verification ahead of Oct. 25 requirement

    King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Monday demonstrated the upcoming vaccine verification process ahead of the Oct. 25 start of verification requirements.

    Constantine and Durkan went to Cafe Allegro in the University District to illustrate how businesses and patrons will be expected to verify coronavirus vaccination or test statuses in most public spaces in King County, beginning next week.

    Under a countywide health order signed last month, patrons and customers over the age of 12 must provide proof of full vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test result from the last 72 hours when in the following situations:

    Outdoor recreational and entertainment events with 500 or more people, such as collegiate sports, professional sports and concerts.
    Indoor restaurants, bars and taverns with seating capacity of 12 and more.
    Indoor entertainment and recreational establishments, such as gyms, fitness facilities and public pools.
    Performing arts venues, night clubs, music and concert venues, movie
    theaters, museums, collegiate and professional sports stadiums and arenas, exhibition halls, and convention centers.

    1. Indoor restaurants, bars and taverns with a seating capacity of less than 12 will have until Dec. 6 to become compliant.

      “This is our way of making sure that we can continue to have businesses functioning, employees and customers healthy and keep our economy moving,” Constantine said at a news conference outside of the coffee shop.

      Constantine and Durkan both presented photos of their vaccination cards on their smartphones to coffee shop employees, demonstrating how to act in compliance with the order, before sitting to sip coffee with Public Health – Seattle & King County interim Director Dennis Worsham and Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce CEO Rachel Smith and discuss the new order.

      Look how easy it is to comply! Comply! Compliance!

      1. If someone refuses you service in Seattle, just cry that you are homeless, drop your pants and take a shit in the middle of their business. What are they going to do about it? Call a social worker?

        They have voted for this for years. Serve it up loose and warm.

    2. Durkan and Smith said they believe that businesses will embrace the requirement as a way to make employees and patrons more comfortable in public environments.

      “The number of times now, just in the last two weeks, where I’ve had employees pull me aside and say: ‘Thank you. I didn’t feel safe coming to work, and now I do,'” Durkan said. “And that’s what you see here, is that requiring a vaccination card really gives the business an opportunity to tell its workers, ‘We have a safe place for you,’ and its customers, ‘We have a safe place for you.'”

      Democrats really are the dumbest fucking people on the planet.

      1. I'm vaccinated, you fucking retards. Why would I fear the unvaccinated?

        1. Because they don’t work very well.

        2. Why fear at all? That's the most weird thing to me. That there are young, healthy people out there who are actually afraid of this. I have not once hesitated to go out and do something because of this virus. And I'm not nearly as young and healthy as I once was.

    3. “If there’s egregious complaints from either patrons or businesses, we will follow up, and there will be a way for them to complain, and we’ll check in with them on those particular things,” he added. “But it’s going to be on an honor system.”

      Gov. Jay Inslee last week announced a similar statewide order that will apply to all indoor events with more than 1,000 attendees and all outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees.


  10. Legalizing weed will end the war on drugs, maaan!

    SALEM, Ore. (AP) — On the same day last week that a southern Oregon county declared a state of emergency amid a sharp increase in illegal cannabis farms, police raided a site that had about 2 tons of processed marijuana and 17,500 pot plants.

    The raid illustrates that the proliferation of industrial-scale marijuana farms has gotten so bad and so brazen that Jackson County Commissioners asked Gov. Kate Brown to send in the Oregon National Guard “to assist, as able, in the enforcement of laws related to the production of cannabis.” They also directly appealed to Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek for help getting additional funding to tackle the problem.


    Both Oregon and California in recent years legalized the cultivation, processing and sale of marijuana, so long as those involved enter the regulated systems in each state and abide by the rules. While many have done so, with Oregon in particular reaping a bonanza in marijuana taxes, some growers have resisted.

    California has also been hit by industrial-scale illegal marijuana growing operations, with eradication left to local authorities, and in federal territory, to federal officers.

    In southern Oregon, the problem has gotten worse recently, law enforcement officials say.

    1. I'd like to see just one state actually legalize by simply repealing the laws criminalizing possession, production and sales and see how that goes. Not holding my breath.

      1. Yeah. Don’t hold your breath. Inhale.


    Left wing media propagandists, the Biden administration and Democrats nationwide have been aiding and abetting violent riots by BLM and Antifa since the day George Floyd overdosed on fentanyl while resisting arrest.

    Meanwhile, the same lefties who have praised violence and property destruction in dozens of Democrat controlled cities
    continue to deceitfully claim the mostly peaceful protest on Jan 6th at the Capitol was an "insurrection".

    1. It wasn't just an insurrection, it was quite literally worse than 9/11.

      1. 9/11 X 100


  12. "British Home Secretary Priti Patel.."

    Put that bitch through a chipper!

    1. No vege fish and chips?

  13. Rahm Emanuel on line 3 says "never let a good crisis ..."

  14. wait for inquiries result...what happen with him.

  15. Nice Blog, keep it up for more information like this.

  16. Nice Blog, keep it up for more information like this.

  17. Social media ise very dangerous for us. I think it will be more. Dernek Kurmak

  18. wait for inquiries result…what happen with him.

  19. “Amazing write-up!”

Comments are closed.