Essay # 1

Essay # 1

Censorship and Fake News

Social media has played an important role in the everyday life of people in the twenty-first century.  It’s a place where everyone can post and talk about whatever they desire on sites such as Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.  Social media has also created a space where users spread ideas and innovation with others.  It has also become a place where users use social media to learn about events transpiring in the world.  This in a sense has made social media turn into new organizations as many more people rely on these sites for news. (Yaragari, 2018).  However this is extremely dangerous in the online space since in recent years many social media platforms have become influenced by politics.  This has created an outflow of fake news and censorship throughout these platforms.  This essay will be covering the issues on censorship and political biases created on the social media Eco-space.  The essay will then conclude that users must use their wits to understand what they are reading since the social media Eco-space is a complex space. 

It has become clearer than ever that social media has a huge impact on the real world. This is because of how quickly ideas can spread in social media and how quickly a topic can become trending.  In some cases this can be positive such as the recent push for ethinic equality within the Black Lives Matter movement.  However negative things can also occur such as the censorship of important public officials such as the recent banning of Donald Trump on Twitter, which sparked a public outrage of his supporters.  The dangers of censorship are quite apparent since many users gain insight from social media.  Therefore the more censorship on these sites allow more fake news to arise.  This is because social media sites have a moral obligation to allow free speech and the flow of ideas on their platforms.  (Suciu, 2021 )  Fake news arises when people aren’t able to hear both sides of a story.  This is what creates radical ideas that can cause harm to society.  Therefore, censorship will create more fake news which can influence many social media users.  This is especially scary when a study done by Pew Research claims that 1 in 5 Americans rely on social media for news.  Therefore, when companies push their own political agenda it can create false stories to sway people to vote for a particular party.

Another issue is the political bias many social media sites have adopted.  A  scholar paper written by Maria Petrova states that the amount of political funding provided to social media sites has increased over the years.  This is to sway the users on the sites to vote for their political campaign by spreading news articles and other information throughout the site.   This once again can create a spread of misinformation between users and create unnecessary conflicts between people. This was one of the critical deciding factors in the 2016 presidential election which allowed the Replubican party to seize a victory in the election.  This was done through spreading many ads through social media websites and allowing them to curate more voters and supporters.  Even though social media sites have tried to censor many fake ads spreading false information they still allow what they want their users to see.  Therefore the potential of fake news is still being able to get through the cracks of the algorthrims set in place on social media platforms.  However there could be an easy fix such as adding warning labels to more extreme news stories that may be fake.  This may help decrease the portienal of fake news spreading and misinformation being passed to households from the internet.  

It is quite clear that social media is not simply a place to post pictures of your pets, or share your recent vacation.  It’s a complex ecosystem plagued by censorship and fake news.  As many social media platforms become more political and are used to sway elections for a party, the more censorship and fake news will arise.  Therefore it is up to social media platforms to hold their moral obligations as a place of free speech to warn their users about fake news.  This is because many users rely on these platforms to learn what is going on with the world.  However, in the end it’s up to the ordinary internet user to do research on what they read.  This is because of the fake news they might be reading.  Therefore, users must use their wits to understand what they are reading since the social media ecospace is a complex space full of fake news and censorship.              

Work Cited:

Simplilearn. “What Is the Major Impact of Social Media.” Simplilearn.com, Simplilearn, 4 Feb. 2021, www.simplilearn.com/real-impact-social-media-article.

Petrova, Maria, et al. “Social Media and Political Contributions: The Impact of New Technology on Political Competition.” SSRN, 9 Sept. 2016, papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2836323.

Suciu, Peter. “Do Social Media Companies Have The Right To Silence The Masses – And Is This Censoring The Government?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 12 Jan. 2021, www.forbes.com/sites/petersuciu/2021/01/11/do-social-media-companies-have-the-right-to-silence-the-masses–and-is-this-censoring-the-government/?sh=6527e22d48e2.

Yaraghi, Niam. “Regulating Free Speech on Social Media Is Dangerous and Futile.” Brookings, Brookings, 24 Sept. 2018, www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2018/09/21/regulating-free-speech-on-social-media-is-dangerous-and-futile/.  

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