WRITTEN AND CONTRIBUTED BY KHAMERON RILEY
What You Need to Know:
Despite recording record profits, 2021 was a rough year for social media giants Twitter, Meta (formerly Facebook), Tiktok, Youtube and Snapchat. Meta had to respond to a controversial whistleblower claim that the company was complicit in harming teenagers and aided child traffickers. Twitter’s former CEO resigned, and the Trump administration tried to bank TikTok over national security concerns.
All of these companies are trying, in their own way, to respond to calls to action from lawmakers to tackle the spread of misinformation. Currently, under Section 230 of the Federal Communications Decency Act, tech companies are protected from being held liable for the content posted by users. A New York bill tries to hold tech companies accountable for disinformation by endowing the attorney general power to bring lawsuits against individuals posting harmful consent, but these types of regulations would encroach upon our first amendment rights.
Social media giants agree that something, anything must be done. As the midterm elections loom, how successful can we really expect these mega-corporations to be in such a short time period?
Twitter permanently banned Representative Majorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) after the company said she violated its Covid-19 misinformation policy for the fifth time. Twitter also permanently banned Former President Donald Trump. While her congressional account remains active, Greene has taken to using an alternative platform known as Telegram. This begs the question of if these bans are even effective or do they just create more bunkers of homogenous thought in unregulated parts of the internet?
Why You Need to Know:
Data shows that Black people mostly use Facebook, so these misinformation campaigns affect us the most. Social media has become a monster of a problem. Not everyone is committed to sharing well-researched, healthy information. We can count on more elected officials to spread more lies, and we can count on tech companies to struggle to control this monster they’ve created.