Kaitlyn Regehr on BBC’s Beyond 100 Days

Dr Kaitlyn Regehr, Lecturer in Media Studies in the School of Arts, appeared on the BBC’s Beyond 100 Days yesterday, Monday 5 August 2019.

Beyond 100 Days is a current affairs programme which airs on both BBC News Channel in the UK and BBC World News, and has been broadcast since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump.

Kaitlyn appears in a segment about the link between online culture and regulation, and the mass shootings which have taken place over the weekend in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. At least three mass shootings this year, including at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, a synagogue in Poway, California and a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas were announced in advance on 8chan, a controversial site where users can post unregulated content and which has been associated with extremist content. This week, President Trump has singled out the internet and social media as one of the causes of the mass shooting in El Paso.

Kaitlyn acknowledges that the internet is very often a force for good, but that it does have a darker side: ‘The problem becomes when these communities [on the internet] promote violence and individuals end up in echo chambers where you get this repetitive messaging time and time again, which solidifies this ideology and normalises the violence. And if violence becomes normalised then it’s not such a leap to see how this would move off screens and onto streets.’

‘Part of the issue I think is that these are often seen as isolated attacks by individuals. We’re not actually looking at the extreme alt-right as a pattern; and there is a pattern there. We see individuals going on social media platforms, saying that they are going to commit a mass murder, and then go and do it. As soon as we start to look at this as a real pattern, then we can start to regulate it properly’.

The full episode is available to watch on BBC iPlayer; the segment featuring Kaitlyn starts at approximately 19 minutes into the programme: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0007f3t/beyond-100-days-series-1-05082019