The actor likened current social media regulations to “boarding a plane and not having to show I.D.”
Actor and producer Idris Elba is tired of internet trolls hiding behind fake usernames and private profiles.
The 48-year-old took to Instagram Sunday morning to call for the verification of all social media users, not just celebrities.
“People in the public eye get verified on social media, (symbolised by a blue tick), the process of verification requires them to prove their IDENTITY, so everyone knows WHO is speaking,” Elba began.
“SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES SHOULD MAKE THIS MANDATORY FOR ALL USERS.” He continued, adding that allowing users to create accounts without identifying themselves is similar to “boarding a plane and not having to show I.D.”
“If cowards are being supported by a veil of privacy and secrecy, then social media is not a safe space. It is an aeroplane that allows travellers to wear balaclavas. If cowards want to spout racial rhetoric then say it with your name, not your username,” he concluded.
Per Instagram’s help center website, users can voluntarily request verification for their account by submitting government-issued I.D. or business documents proving their identity, but not everyone eligible for verification will be awarded it.
Those approved for verification get a blue checkmark symbol next to their account, but the distinction is usually given to celebrities or businesses rather than the average user.
The conversation about internet regulation has grown louder and louder over time, and there is even a petition with over 686,000 signatures on the UK government website — Elba is a London native — to require I.D. in order to sign up for a social media account.
Elba has been vocal about the intersection of race and pop culture in the past as well, such as his July 2020 comments that television stations shouldn’t censor old episodes that viewers may find racist, in response to the national outcry following George Floyd’s murder months prior.
“To mock the truth, you have to know the truth. But to censor racist themes within a show, to pull it – wait a second, I think viewers should know that people made shows like this,” he told Radio Times.
“Out of respect for the time and the movement, commissioners and archive-holders pulling things they think are exceptionally tone-deaf at this time – fair enough and good for you. But I think, moving forward, people should know that freedom of speech is accepted, but the audience should know what they’re getting into,” he added.
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