Fake News and Politics on Social Media

Rather than being places where people stay connected and share the small print of their lives, they’re increasingly getting used as sources of data. A recent Pew survey found nearly six in 10 people regularly use social media for news and while it’s not their only news outlet, it’s a crucial one. As a result, the standard of knowledge people receive from social media is becoming an even bigger question.

Social media platforms have come to require up most of our lives that the choices these platforms make now could have significant ramifications for the form of the knowledge environment and the way we understand and have interaction with our worlds. Technically speaking, Twitter could make the case to get rid of President Trump if they deem that he violated the terms of its user agreement — which incorporates clauses on ‘abusive behavior’ or ‘targeted harassment.’

This can be likely why President Trump’s tweet that included unfounded allegations about voter fraud involving mail-in ballots were allowed to stay, though with the caveat that a link to additional information was posted alongside the tweet.

Doing so would go off a firestorm of criticism from the political right, who already accuse social media of either censoring or reducing the visibility of conservative viewpoints. Further, removal of President Trump from Twitter would likely give birth to a series of legal challenges and congressional hearings that these platforms wouldn’t want to cater to.”

Where is that the line drawn on social media when it involves hate speech versus amendment rights?

As social media companies don’t seem to be government institutions, they’re able to control their content as they see appropriate. Misinformation can plague public discourse and decision-making, make it harder for people to search out the ground, and even function as a threat to public health. Further, hateful content is getting used by fringe groups to grow their ranks and increase their organization, as evidence of the re-emergence of white supremacists and other radical movements.

 

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