Are we poised to let a computer app used to re-connect with high school friends bring down western civilization?
Haven’t we had our fill of being duped by what we see and read on Facebook? Please repeat after me – Facebook: for keeping up with friends, family, and promoting our small businesses, fine and dandy. For anything and everything else: ignore!
“It was all over Facebook,” was part of a quote from Baltimore mayor Bernard Young, warning Baltimore citizens not to park near white vans, even though he had received no warnings or real information from his own police force. It seemed that rumors, combined with Facebook’s algorithms, spread fear through many in the United States, that mysterious men driving white vans were kidnapping women for sex trafficking and for their body parts, and this was happening all over the country no less!
In response, Facebook claimed that they were trying to take action to prevent the viral spread of such false information across its platform. Maybe, but the false and misleading information just seems to continue, uncontested, and is readily available on Facebook for all the gullible to digest. Such ditties include stories that President Trump’s father was in the KKK; his grandfather was a pimp; Ilhan Omar attended an al-Qaida training camp, and that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to ban all motorcycles. Of course, ever continuing, is the unabated issue of pervasive Holocaust denial content on the platform as well.
It reminds me of the Orson Wells’ “War of the Worlds” radio debacle back in 1938, only then, there was no easy way to realize that the radio program was just that, a radio program. So even if we are going to be dumb enough to scan Facebook for news or current events, shouldn’t we at least have the common sense to add in a dose of logic and skepticism before we head for the hills so to speak, or start harassing anyone driving a white van? That actually happened in this case.
Some Congress-folk and presidential hopefuls want Facebook to police their content for fake stories, and to some extent they do. These same politicians want Facebook to not allow any untrue content from politicians to be posted on the platform, but the only way that will work is to ban all political content, which sounds like a good idea to me. Russia, China, and I am sure other countries, will continue to take advantage of our “Facebook naivety.” Maybe that needs to be established and treated as a new medical condition.
Whatever we do, we better do it fast. The 2020 election will be coming to a voting booth near you soon enough, and impeaching Trump is not going to fix our social media obsession, “Facebook Naivety.” It only emboldens the forces around the world and from within the United States that seek to further destabilize our fracturing Democratic Republic, which grows more frail with every new “heart” clicked.
So please, do pay attention to the forces behind Facebook’s curtain and DO stop believing.