Three significant internet services, Twitter, Facebook and Google, declare they’re taking actions to block and silence activities which includes comments that some find offensive. But when does that become censorship?
Before I began the write this column today, I invested a few minutes with one of my favorite news website, The Onion. In the Science and Technology portion of that humor newspaper, the headline “Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas,” was standing out. It appeared suitable to this week’s headline that Facebook would begin banning what it details as “fake news.”
The reason it appeared suitable is that Facebook, along with Google, has declared a wide variety of measures to cut back on fake news, without any real meaning of what they take into account fake.
On the other hand, Twitter has declared that it’s cancelling the accounts of users that the service considers are followers of “Alt-Right” ideology. But like Facebook and Google, Twitter doesn’t explain how it chooses which users accommodate that description.
These activities raise a number of questions that the managers of the websites really have to answer. The primary question is what precisely represents fake news? If it’s that is a news article that has inaccuracies, then it could mean that Facebook and Google are taking action in opposition to every news source on the Internet, if only because they all have mistakes at one time or another. Most websites correct those mistakes, but does making a mistake suggest you’re a fake news website?
Maybe not, since one presumes that the objective of most objective news websites is to tell the truth, even if there are mistakes from time to time.
So what about obviously fake news websites such as The Onion, which revels in its function as a purveyor of fake news and in the approach takes satire to new highs? But should it be blocked because it’s fake news? All things considered, satire has a long and honored position in publishing. Satires has had an essential role in public discourse since kings kept court jesters to assist courtiers create a sense of humor.
But what about reports being planted that state things such as Pope Francis is endorsing Donald Trump? Is this actually fake news? Are folks truly that gullible?
And in the event that they are, could a fake report like that truly influence a U.S. election?
Over at Twitter the issue with unwelcome speech is one that’s more associated with online harassment and hate speech. This issue recently appeared when comedienne Leslie Jones of Saturday Night Live suffered a barrage of truly awful attacks on Twitter at the hand of one Milo Yiannopoulos, who also is actually an editor of Breitbart News, a right-wing news website whose CEO at that moment was Steve Bannon, currently on the Trump transition team.
You see the issue. It’s one thing to safeguard legitimate news outlets from folks or organizations that don’t want to shut them down for telling the truth without fear or favor. But what occurs when the folks who work at specific purported news outlets aren’t showcasing news, but instead hate? The issue is currently becoming devious.
It’s simple to propose that folks basically disregard or block the idiots such as Yiannopoulos, and Twitter ultimately did just that. But what occurs when the speech becomes uncomfortable because it consists of facts that another individual does not want to hear? Does Twitter, then, base its blocking or account cancellations on what some don’t like? Or whether or not the information is the truth?
These are difficult inquiries. And it would be uncomplicated to take the approach that all speech is OK because speech is protected, particularly if it’s political speech. But is it?
The other day I was called by an old dear colleague who was in tears because her colleagues were in a state of abject panic about what might occur when Donald Trump will become president. These folks were definitily reading anti-Trump fake news and believed it. Is it right to permit noticeable lies to be displayed just because it’s political?
A week ago a near relative called me about the election-again in tears-because of the election outcome. “How could this happen, Jay?” she inquired. She feared greatly for her future. An additional friend called a few days ago and informed me she was going to purchase a handgun to protect herself when those “bad things” start to occur. She wasn’t certain what those things may be, but she wished to be prepared.
Obviously, hate and lies penetrate some parts of the internet and obviously some folks believe them. This demonstrates the issue that currently exists with almost half of all adults acquiring their news from social media. But is this a reason to begin banning opinions from the internet? And if it is, who decides what should be banned and what should be permitted?
And also, is there a method for social media to flag legitimate media after it’s been vetted, so users will understand the material they’re reading comes from a source they will be able to believe?
Sadly, legitimate media in the United States and elsewhere have a long record of producing their own fake news, beginning in the days of yellow journalism and times when newspapers helped launch wars so they’d have something to cover. The yowl, “Remember the Maine,” echoes through a century of journalism as a souvenir of just how awful fake news and propaganda can be.
Sadly, more than likely it’s very unlikely to ban fake news, hate speech and personal attacks-all of which have already been around for millennia-without also occasionally blocking legitimate news, valid opinions and oftentimes even the truth.
Rather, the best we can do is inspire folks to consume their news from multiple sources. After that, a range of viewpoints mixed with the news from folks you know and trust can assist folks weed out what’s real and what’s questionable. But banning fake news and attempting to purge speech that some might find hurtful is not the answer.
The solution instead is to motivate folks to calmly think rationally, to identify junk when they see it and relegate it to the digital wastebin.
Fortunately there is an alternative to Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter, it’s an amazing social media website free of censorship, there are TOS (Terms Of Service), but it is genuinely one of the last frontiers of free expression and supports our 1st and 2nd amendments by permitting folks to buy sell or trade anything that is legal, even firearms.
Accordingly, if by now you have not established that Facebook and Google are in association with the infected government, then I feel for you, but for the ones who are well advised of the problems it’s high time you converted over to Seen.life. It is a website that is equivalent to Facebook but without all the censorship poo.
Here are some of the variances you’ll discover at Seen.Life:
No Censorship! Remember they do have a Terms of Service that will need to be used for things like pornography, copyright violations and defamation. If we get a complaint, we’ll investigate. If you are accustomed to the free Press design at Before It’s News, we think you will enjoy Seen.is
NO ID needed. Facebook is at this point asking specific folks for their ID’s. That goes beyond the pale. You can utilize whatever name you would like at Seen and no ID needed.
They Do not market your data! The truth is they don’t even collect it (other than your email so you can obtain notifications).
No Limitation on The Amount of Friends You Can Have. If you’re popular enough to get over 5,000 friends, we think that’s fantastic! More power to you!
Private and secure chat rooms! These are powerfully encrypted and there’s no snooping.
Considering Facebook and Google and the way they are going it’s not intending to be a site you desire to remain. Sign up and establish an account at Seen.Life and get away from this obtrusive censorship!!
These People Are A Danger To Themselves And Others! Wake Up!!!!!!
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