Social Media Update
Updated: Jul 26, 2019
Jacob is fundamentally committed to intellectual vitality and uninhibited dialogue. Whenever such principles are at stake, it is the responsibility of Jacob to investigate and respond appropriately to such threats. One such concern includes social media platforms that engross excessive amounts of audience attention, rendering first amendment protection of "speaking" inadequate. Instead, it is the attention of the audience that is scarce today and speech can easily be censored by inundating the listeners.
Today, excessive amounts of economic and cultural power are concentrated in a small number of social media firms, among which includes Facebook and Twitter. Their ability to regulate content and viewership on their platform is immense. During one update to Facebook's algorithm, for example, foreign news outlets saw significant (50-66%) declines in their readership. The same thing happened when Google alerted unconventional/extremists sites, resulting in 63% decline in viewership for AlterNet, for example.
Companies like Google are bigger than the global print industry. The Packingham v. North Carolina case established social media as “modern public squares” given its immense power to control the content which people had access to. Without adequate regulation to ensure open discourse without biased censorship online, social media will not advance the core values of Jacob.
Beyond the apparent capacity for said social media corporations to regulate speech, the rising number and frequency of material designed to indoctrinate and assail is another poignant concern. With 48M bots on Twitter, and 67.65-137.76M on Facebook, it should come no doubt that social media has a polarizing effect.
As such, the following recommendations are prescribed:
- Enact an embargo against toxic social media environments
- Seriously curtail the reliance on social media - Gradually transition to apps that offer intellectual content, without censorship