Data scientist Frances Haugen is NOT a whistle blower.
Nothing she said was new or shocking. Facebook and Instagram are harmful to our mental health, just like watching the news every day is harmful to our mental health. Too much screen time of any kind is likely harmful. You don’t need to be a genius or conduct a study to arrive at that obvious truth, it’s common sense. It’s self-evident. If you wake up every day and watch a show that highlights death, dying, and doom, will you be happier?
Let’s analyze social media in the same way, shall we?
Situation on Instagram: Young teenage girls looking at heavily filtered photos of other girls, making them appear “more attractive” than they are in reality which causes self-doubt and self-image issues. Yeah, who could have seen that harm coming? Obvious answer: anyone with half a brain and some common sense.
Situation on Facebook: People are able to have a voice and converse with anyone around the world on one giant forum, either with their real identity or a fake one. Yeah, there’s some opportunity for disagreements, bullying, verbal attacks, conspiracy theories, etc. Welcome to the internet.
Although I have my issues with social media and the media as a whole, it’s no secret what they’re about: profit.
So it shouldn’t surprise you when an employee, former employee, or “whistle blower” comes out and states the obvious. Above all else, private companies are about profit and market share. Potential harm caused by their products and services are of little concern to them. However, when the microscope gets put on them, now they have to say or do “the right things” or else the government will come crashing down on them.
Now we are at the truly important part of this conversation, or I guess, this post. If you’re still reading, ask yourself this question: What is social media?
How you define social media should dictate how it is regulated. The goal of this “whistle blower” is to put the spotlight on the ills of social media to create urgency for government regulation.
What that government regulation looks like is the KEY ISSUE HERE. One side of the aisle wants to limit what you see and what is allowed on the platforms. The other side of the aisle wants the platforms to be more open and unbiased, allow open discussion, debate, and even disagreement.
Of course there has to be agreed upon rules like removing obscene images, or pornography, actual hate speech or inciting violence not just speech that hurts feelings or goes against a political ideology.
The question really comes down to whether social media companies are defined and viewed the same way as AT&T or Verizon, or not. If they are like the phone companies, then it’s a tall task to determine when they are liable for bad things happening in the real world, because of something said on social media.
The irony here is we are to blame. We as a society are the ones who created this scenario. Not social media companies. Not Zuckerberg, not Jack. We created this mess because we continually look at someone else to be the adult in the room instead of being them ourselves. And because of this, there’s a good chance that the continued push for government to control everything in our lives will continue.
In the end, we are in control of what occurs in our lives. The choices we make have direct and sometimes immediate consequences. Yet, we seem to continually look to someone else or another entity to tell us what is right or wrong.
If you don’t like Facebook or Instagram anymore, delete it. Take a break. Remove the app from your phone.
If you don’t like the way watching the news makes you feel, don’t watch it anymore.
If you don’t want a certain political figure in office anymore, you don’t need term limits, you need to vote for someone else.
Keep allowing the government and these huge corporations to get more and more in lock step. See how well it works out for us. I hate to even sound remotely conspiratorial, but I for one enjoy the ability to get on Facebook and say whatever I am thinking (within reason) and allow you the people reading it to decide for yourself what is true, right, good, or bad.
If you’re too lazy to read an article, do your own research, or find out what is true and what isn’t in this world, that’s not my problem or the government’s job to fix it.
When a “whistle blower” appears on the national news stating the obvious and the mainstream media trips over themselves clapping and applauding, that’s what we call a clue. Think critically people. Ask questions that force you to look at things from all angles. What is the motivation of what people are saying or doing? Ask yourself how things affect the big picture. Who stands to gain from things that happen? Could this affect politics in some overarching way? For example, news stories aren’t disseminated by certain platforms if it looks bad for a certain political candidate. It could happen, or maybe it already has?
In the end, the government would love nothing more than the ability to censor big tech if or when they deem it necessary. But it’s tricky and most likely unconstitutional. Granted, so is using the CDC to enact eviction moratoriums, but that didn’t matter or stop anyone, so who knows these days. Regardless, the fact that it would be immensely useful to whichever party is in control, especially during election season, can’t be overlooked. If you can’t see that, regardless of your political ideology, then I don’t know what to tell you.
Either you value the ability to speak freely and speak your truth, or you want the government to decide your truth for you.
In the end, I have to believe Zuckerberg wants to create a platform that truly embraces diversity of opinion, even political ones, but I’m not entirely sure he has the backbone to provide such a place. With a company valued at over a trillion dollars, he will ultimately do what he needs to protect his company and stay in the good graces of the government. For better, or worse. I guess we will see.
I wish I could say I have faith in our country, our elected officials, and the mainstream media, but it’s impossible considering there are millions of Americans that likely still falsely believe Border Patrol whipped Haitian immigrants at the border.
A complete lie, allowed to stand.
Baffling and disgusting.
Let me say it again very clearly in case someone missed it, “Border Patrol didn’t whip anyone at the border.”
If the truth is no longer exists, you’re only left with lies.
– The Officer Next Door
“Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “
We couldn’t agree more.
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