Opinion: Your Say on who ought to management social media
Don’t expect everyone to agree on standards
“How should social media content be controlled?” ranks at the top with “When is an abortion appropriate?” and “When is language hateful?” and “Who is the greatest athlete of all time?” in its subjectivity, complexity and nuance. The most brilliant minds disagree.
As an economic platform, Walmart selects which products to sell and which to discontinue, how to set prices and how to sell the goods. It is an independent company and can therefore make these decisions itself. Occasionally, Walmart can be pressured from outside to stop selling controversial products like guns.
As a news and information platform, The San Diego Union-Tribune has the luxury of not having to publish every letter or every letter received. This is not censorship. The first change does not apply to private companies.
As a public-law “platform”, one of the city’s sidewalks has intended uses (safe walking) that the city allows almost unrestrictedly. It’s also used for myriad other purposes like soap boxes that the cities allow free – until it interferes with the intended use. You can use soap boxes until your volume or audience size is a threat. There are Limits. The city determines where the limits are.
Next week: Philip Rivers is retiring
Social media platforms offer opportunities for soap boxes. joyful, informative, political, silly and dead serious. Unlike Walmart, social media content is delivered with no bias, conditions, or agreements. Until it has to be – just like the sidewalk. Ideally, social media companies have thought things through and set guidelines to control what gets placed on their platforms. You can’t always know everything in advance, so policies need to be strictly updated and viewed. Strictly following their guidelines is vital to prevent favorites from appearing. But this is where it gets difficult.
Everything can be placed on a spectrum. There is a spectrum of hate speech, incitement to violence, bullying and pornography. Where are the lines to the left of which all is well, but to the right of which everything is forbidden? The “marketplace” has a say.
Interestingly, as seems to be the case with Twitter, employees had a say in the closure of President Donald Trump’s account. Other media have a say. In high-profile cases like Trump, the mix of submissions was considered and a decision was made. But Facebook et al. A million can’t do that. Artificial intelligence tools need to be developed. As now, human screeners must have clear direction and authority to close sites. If websites or accounts are not closed properly, a lawsuit must exist. This task is very gnarled and will never be accepted by everyone. Social media will sometimes get it right and sometimes it won’t. But companies have to control it somehow. Even a simple sidewalk needs to be checked.
Paul Jester, Poway
Where the line is drawn is a big problem
Where should the line be drawn on social media and who should draw it?
I remember Potter Stewart’s statement about pornography. He wrote that he couldn’t define pornography and then added, “But I know when I see it.”
This also applies to all of our freedoms such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. We can all agree that lines must be drawn, but we cannot agree on where and who should draw the lines.
Perhaps the solution to this dilemma lies in our education system. Create smart, decent people who regulate themselves. As the saying goes, “If you want a better world, make better people and start with yourself.”
We have a lot of citizens who just don’t understand. They don’t understand truth, reality, democracy, civics, and manners. Every behavior needs to be filtered. But we had an unfiltered president for four years.
None of these questions about drawing a line are easy. When is kindness sexual abuse? We wouldn’t have to try the difficult task of writing rules and regulations to set boundaries if people behaved.
Charlie Ballbach, Santee
Tech companies shouldn’t have that much power
Regarding “Trump’s social media ban raises the question: What are the rules and who enforces them?” (Jan 15): Thank you for your editorial tech censorship, which peaked recently when Apple, Google, and Amazon destroyed Parler, a social media service.
In the past, the tech censorship complainants were told that if they didn’t like it, they should start their own business. They did. They started Parler, gained a large and dedicated following, and now the CEO and his family are hiding from death threats.
Before the election, Big Tech (and disgracefully many in the press) closed any discussion of Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Once the Biden government releases its climate plan, prepare for Big Tech to curtail climate discussions.
Tech’s opaque, changing standards and disregard for privacy have angered both Republicans and Democrats, so there is hope for legislative action at both the federal and state levels.
Jim Austin, Encinitas
Our government has a role to play
We stand up for life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. But absolute freedom of speech and action cannot be tolerated if we want to maintain a functioning society. The warning “The right to swing the fist stops where my nose begins” applies.
The English poet John Donne summed it up almost 400 years ago: “No man is an island in itself; Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the Main. “Simply put, we’re here together, so we have to find a way to get along.
In order to determine what freedom of speech is or not, it comes down to the difference between discretionary and dangerous. Homeowners’ associations enact regulations for junk vehicles, garden signs, and grills.
On the other hand, based on direct evidence or potential hazards, the government is limiting chimney emissions, regulating what goes into medicines, and requiring child seats in vehicles.
As the UT editorial pointed out, social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have not handled the regulation of free speech well. If they really do have guidelines, they have not been applied equally. User complaints about harassment and threats are numerous.
With social media platforms’ track records not sparkling, a government agency needs to set boundaries and maintain order. Ban on threats of violence or chaos is a breeze.
However, a blanket policy doesn’t work. What is free speech to some is oppression to others. Social media platforms have to set firm guidelines for publication and storage.
For example, follow the guidelines for returning goods.
We may argue with them, but we must recognize their right to do so.
Individuals or groups who do not supervise themselves are reinforcing the need for an independent authority to take responsibility.
To avoid draconian measures, we pay attention to the common good.
John Donne again: “The death of every man diminishes me because I am involved in humanity. And therefore never let you know who the bell is ringing for; It costs you. “
Dale Rodebaugh, Kensington