Social media, eh? The main platforms, as everyone well knows, are Facebook and Twitter. Both have their benefits but increasingly, they have been having, and have been creating, problems. Problems social, problems financial, problems of integrity, problems of transparency. In sum, problems. Big bastards as well.
Let’s start with Twitter. During the 2016 election, a number of female political candidates were threatened with rape, murder, being slashed, you name it, they were threatened with it. Troll farms set up false accounts that created even more mayhem. One only has to add that obscene waste of oxygen currently in the White House, and the anger and chaos he loves to create into the mix to see that the initial idea of Twitter to create open communications has become dysfunctional. Twitter and communication are now an oxymoron. On their website, you can read their philanthropic mission statement:
Twitter for Good. Our philanthropic mission is to reflect and augment the power of Twitter and the talents of our employees through direct civic engagement, employee volunteerism, charitable contributions, in-kind donations, and by harnessing the Twitter service for good.
‘… service for good…’ Really? The word ironic comes to mind.
Facebook, initially, a platform to be used to share videos, photographs, holiday snaps, family / friends updates and so on. I liked it at first. Then the rot, due to the greed of senior executives, (this applies to Twitter as well), kicked in. Let’s then add the recent case of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, and the data mining of over fifty million accounts, (without permission), which is said to have been used to sway the recent US election as well as the Brexit vote in the UK, then there comes a time when one feels it right to say, ‘Enough now, enough now.’
Facebook’s mission statement was announced by Mark Zuckerberg in July 2017:
“Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
I’m sorry, I know, I know, I shouldn’t laugh.
These platforms are being used for purposes other than ‘pure’ information exchange. Both have been hijacked by highly skilled technical people to run campaigns, sway people’s perceptions and generally create mayhem. When they are found out or brought to book, senior management’s response is, ‘We’ll deal with it,’ (no they won’t); ‘It won’t happen again,’ (yes it will, albeit in a slightly different form); ‘We’ve done nothing wrong,’ (maybe not ‘legally’ at the moment, but yes they have, ethically and morally). I have come to the decision that trying to associate the words ‘ethically’ and ‘morally’ with both organisations is an exercise in futility. It is another oxymoron. So, ‘Enough now, enough now.’
Both platforms are being used to create anger, to create hate, to create misinformation. The latter to such an extent that it is the new ‘normal’ to read something and then check whether the report is correct or skewed. That this is the case is an indictment of both platforms.
In their search for commercial success Twitter and Facebook have delegitimised truth. This is to be expected, after all their entire business model is based on monitoring people’s online behaviour and monetising that data. They cannot, therefore, be reformed without undermining their commercial viability. Both have forgone integrity in the desire for more profit. ‘Enough now, enough now.’
Well, I for one am no longer willing to be involved with either. I know, I know, I won’t be missed. I am merely one. However, I do not believe that I am just one. There will be many who will be thinking the same as me, ‘Enough now, enough now.’
And the sooner this happens the better.
J J Mitchell
‘Never leave anyone behind’