Is Social Responsibility Part of Social Media?

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Recently, there have been many op-ed pieces about social responsibility. Facebook allows political ads from practically anyone. Twitter has said that they won’t post political ads. And Pinterest points people to the CDC and WHO when they search for anti-vaxxer content. Who’s right? And what is a social media platform’s responsibility? By the way, you might like this article: Why Pinterest Isn’t Social Media and Why it is.

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The First Amendment

People are very concerned about the First Amendment. And I agree that we remove people’s right to free speech. After all, free speech is what makes this country strong. And shouldn’t everyone have a right to voice their opinion? But what about when people are unduly influenced because those with fake news have more money and political sway than others? Is there some way to level the playing field so those who are loudest don’t have too much sway?

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Political Ads

Is it part of a reader’s responsibility to sort out lies in political ads? Facebook now says that it’s not their responsibility. And yet…we clearly know that the last election was influenced by Facebook ads. Read this New York Times opinion piece: Should Facebook Allow False Political Ads?┬áThe author believes the problem is that most people don’t read. In fact, studies show that many Americans don’t read past the 8th grade level, and that we’re in a literacy crisis. Being on social media, I’d tend to agree. Read the comments on any article or Facebook post, and you’ll see mangled sentences and bad grammar.

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Anti-Science Ideas

Are we all allowed to go around saying things that are nonsense? If I want to say that water is purple and the sky is green, how do people know what’s true and how to check? After all, some people seem to believe anything that’s on the internet. Just check out all the scams going around. As I write this, there’s one scam saying that Costco is giving away $75 coupons for free. Not everyone will go to Snopes.com and check it out.

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How Much Responsibility is Enough?

Scammers and hackers are getting more sophisticated. And more and more of our personal data is being given away for free. Shouldn’t social media platforms have at least some responsibility to point out what is true and what is fake? Maybe a warning of some sort that the source material has not been vetted.

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What Do You Think?

Should there be a free-for-all in terms of what people can and can’t say on the Internet, even if others get hurt by their words? Leave me a comment! And thank you.

Comments

  1. Interesting take on this subject. I have my thoughts about it… of course I do! lol

    My first thought is that freedom of speech is kind of a myth. There’s always been restrictions on it, such as being on an airplane and talking about bombs, or being in a theater and screaming “fire”.

    Next, people seem to forget that Facebook, Twitter, & all the rest are free platforms. Only advertisers are paying for it, so the platforms should have the right to decide what they’ll allow and won’t allow. The benefit for the rest of us is that it’s free, so we can leave if we want to, without restrictions (of course we also need to exercise our judgment in getting all our data off, but that’s a different issue).

    Finally, in general people can say what they want to say and do what they want to do. With that in mind, there are often consequences for folks who decide to do that and say something unpopular. If we’re prepared for that, then we should be able to say what we want to say; just don’t cry if the masses don’t like it. True, the masses can go overboard, but like freedom of speech, we can’t always (actually never) control what others will do when they’re angry.

    • Yes, we shouldn’t be in a crowded theater and scream fire. To me, telling others is true when it’s made up (if it can lead to danger) is sort of the same thing. I mean, look at all the unvaccinated kids now. People are dying because they believe something that isn’t true. It puts their own kids as well as others in danger. Should that kind of free speech be protected? If I want to believe any old dumb thing in the privacy of my own home (and it doesn’t hurt anyone else), that’s one thing. But when it endangers everyone else?

      I really like that Pinterest (and some other platforms) are taking steps to at least try to put the facts in front of people. And of course I can choose to spend more time there.

      Thanks for the conversation.

  2. Hi Carol,
    A thought provoking subject, indeed.

    I had to snicker about the Costco coupon mention because I had someone send it to me. I didn’t have to break her heart that it wasn’t real because her son beat me to it.

    I’m to the point that I can’t believe most things I read until I go find multiple sources that I have found reliable in the past. Even that doesn’t always work.

    Regards,
    Patricia

    • Hi Patricia,
      I’m still getting messages about that darn Costco coupon! I told someone privately that it wasn’t true. We all have to check on Snopes and other sites to make sure we’re not spreading rumors. Darn! I could’ve used that $75! Hahaha!

      Thanks, as always, for the comments.
      Carol

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