Social media used to be a market of free ideas where everyone’s voices could be heard. Not anymore. Social media companies are now driving their agendas through their platforms, silencing dissenters and conditioning the minds of their users.
Big Tech Leviathans
In the USA, social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook run their operations without any regulation. This allows them to dictate policies and censor, suspend, or ban their users without any legal repercussion. Social media sites have given individual personalities the ability to earn money through their websites, and an immediate ban can end or stifle their career. The tech ban, however, is almost one-sided, with conservative voices making up 21 out of the 22 bans of users and channels with significant political following. Because of their draconic practices, specific individuals and companies have chosen to host their content via their own websites rather than rely on these platforms. IT solutions that host and store data have made this transition a lot easier, giving users an alternative avenue to reach their audience or clients.
Hosting vs. Publishing
Social media platforms were exempt from regulations as they were merely facilitating and not publishing content. However, by pushing their own agendas and silencing or punishing specific ideas, they are no longer purely promoting content because they are editing it. By choosing what comes in and stays on their platforms, social media sites have become publishers, screening content and approving what reaches their clients. Free speech must be upheld, especially if one side considers any form of disagreement hate speech. In a recent Senate hearing, Republican Senator Ted Cruz pointed out that even Bible verses and quotes from Mother Theresa were banned by Twitter, claiming their content fostered hate. On the other hand, calls for doxxing and violence against children — in the case of the Covington Catholic School debacle — remained mostly unpunished. Social media sites must stay nonpartisan and untainted by any agenda if they want to be free of regulation.
Dividing the Country
The apparent bias of social media platforms against Conservatives only serves to divide the nation further. The election of Donald Trump seems to have opened Pandora ’s Box as social media sites, and mainstream media switched from becoming facilitators and reporters into pundits pushing their agendas. Liberals and progressives become trapped in their echo chambers, hearing only one side of the story and getting fed biased narratives pushed by those seeking power. Liberals are fed with stories of victimhood and fear-mongering, while Conservatives lose their avenues of expression. Conflict does not begin because people talk to each other and exchange ideas. Conflict arises when people refuse to speak to each other and believe that only their opinions matter.
Social media sites used to facilitate discourse. Now, they reinforce one side while silencing the other. Outrage mobs rule one side of the debate, screaming victimhood at any perceived slight. Intellectual figures on the other side are labeled as white supremacists and even Nazis. Discourse is important. Only when two sides exchange ideas can they come together and see the humanity in each other.