Facebook is once again in the news. According to the Times, Facebook did not disclose to congress that the Russian interference was happening much longer than they had admitted. This was a shock to their democrat “friends.” In the past YouTube and Facebook were under fire because of the Russian interference during the presidential interference. To further add insult to injury they had hired a PR firm used by republicans. The democrats are accusing Facebook of being a company that does more harm than good. They have further included Google and Amazon and other social media platforms on their negative list.
Some of the senators would like to see the tech companies become regulated. But is government allowed to regulate Facebook? If government were to regulate Facebook would that be infringing on the first amendment rights of American Citizens? Exactly what would they regulate? Companies and institutions use Facebook for advertising. Media companies use Facebook as a way to inform the users and entice them to subscribe. If government were to regulate Facebook, subscribers may not think they have the freedom to post freely, big brother is watching. Regulating the social media sites could be seen as the government monitoring our phone calls.
The democrats have further accused Facebook of allowing fake news/propaganda and pushing anti-Semitism or e.g. the recent post that was trending about George Soros. Republicans have accused Facebook of suppressing conservative speech. Facebook and other social media sites have restrictions on what users can post on their platforms. Obscene pictures, nudity, hate speech are regulated by the social media companies unless they are for “educational” purposes. These platforms have survived for so long because users feel that the have the freedom to post anything they like.
Google, Facebook and Twitter have argued that their platforms are similar to newspapers. What pops up on Google’s search engine when you request information and what appears as trending topics on Facebook is like newspapers choosing what editorials they will print.
However, Is Facebook doing any harm that may cause imminent danger to the citizens of United States? In the past Facebook has been accused of providing a false sense of reality based on what people post onto the website; Also, suppressing conservative viewpoints; pushing liberals messages in trending topics.
Maybe government needs to go back to the drawing board and revisit campaign regulations. Maybe ban political advertising on social media websites. So if any political ads appear on social media websites people would know that they are fake.I don’t think this the end of us hearing about Facebook, Silicon Valley and government intervention.
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