“Here was a happy world, my teachers!” (Thomas Middleton)
The state of social networks is not what it was. Freedom of expression has been threatened in its last stronghold. Social media has changed the way we access news information. This is one of the reasons why social networks have been adopted by increasing percentages of the public in recent years. This is good for our society, since the free flow of information and ideas is one of the keys to democracy. Access to a wide range of information allows citizens to participate fully in public life. Without access to information, people cannot understand the role of government and the decisions made on its behalf.
The Internet made it easy to share opinions on everything. This led to much attention being paid to how political biases and journalist behavior affect our public life. News and information are no longer mediated by news publishers and television producers. As a result, traditional news platforms were completely smoked by smartphone social media users.
So it’s no wonder that big news companies and politicians are concerned and want the government to regulate social media. They want to subject social media to political control. The reason for this is that they know that today’s public will not cooperate as they were.
In fact, in the early 1990s, the Internet emerged as a real possibility of free access to information. But it was a “short summer”. In the mid-1990s, those of us who believed in the “utopian promises” of the Internet realized that virtual environments were increasingly becoming a threat to corporations and governments.
Almost inevitably, an overcrowding of the Web was established and the opinions of the public newsgroups began to leak. Why? Both misinformed people and arrogant companies have started sending spam and advertising messages to public forums. Communication has become a private concern. The effect of this, as many experts pointed out, was a lack of trust in the public sphere of cyberspace.
We can bring this closer to home. Social media started in the early 2000s and it has changed the world. Rapid changes like these always raise fears in those seeking to protect the status quo. Social media platforms have become titans controlling essential avenues for public discourse. Inevitably, they began to “verify opinions.” On average, millions of messages are posted every day. Do you think they can go through each of these posts to verify the facts and determine which ones are accurate (don’t laugh)? It is surely an impossible task. They should promote open forums for debate, but it seems that they are using their power to censor points of view that they do not like. They are not neutral. Recent academic studies show that the online space is divided into groups that lean to the left and to the right.
It is a sad fact of our culture that it repeats itself over and over again. Think of the old phrase: “When will they learn?” Democracy is an ideal that must be pursued day after day. Today’s social media is biased against conservative politics and Christian values. I do not support new government efforts to regulate social media. But I also do not support these giants to “check the facts” opinions to their liking. Surely, social media can be abused. But we got the constitutional law to stop the abuse.