Facebook: A threat to Democracy
There were this group of friends that grew up together, went all through school, served at each other's weddings and kids baptisms. Over time job opportunities and life placed them living miles apart in different towns, one was all the way across the country on the west coast.
For a couple of decades, all the news they knew of each other was from annual Christmas cards in the mail along with an accompanying short note of the major events of that families past year.
Over those decades, personal computers started appearing in homes, great big desktops, pc clones with heavy huge heat producing cathode-ray-tube monitors built like televisions. Eventually, the internet was available and us mouthbreathers thought it was 'cable tv for the computer'. And it kind of was except you could look up information and useful things and get lots of information, things you could use to better your life.
One day something called 'Facebook' showed up. Suddenly there were your long lost friends, old workmates, people you knew only in passing, and it was wonderful to catch up and re-familiarize yourself with your childhood memories, friends, family and so on from coast to coast or country to country wherever life had deposited them.
Then Politics started entering the newsfeed equation, people posted what was on their minds and you couldn't believe your best friend from next door growing up could have turned out so stupid, uncultured and ignorant.
This story was repeated literally millions and millions of times in the past few years, Facebook brought us together and then separated some of us from our friends and family.
Marriages have broken up, relationships have begun. Writing 'what's on your mind' and hitting enter has initiated bitter feuds and even gunfights amongst perfect strangers and suddenly not-so-perfect friends.
The social media platform has changed all our lives and changed the real world we live in day-to-day. You don't even want to ask how much time the average 18-55-year-old spends on social media each day. One of my New Year's so-called resolutions was to resolve to resort to using a computer for work, and/or research only more than I gaze bored and glassy-eyed at the blue newsfeed. Doing pretty good so far too.
Now Facebook has come forward admitting that bad actors took advantage of their platform by spreading misinformation, especially in the months and days leading up to the 2016 elections.
Facebook recognizes they were too slow to react in 2016 as bad actors abused their platform to entice damaging activity and violence for various causes. And by this Facebook feels they have become a menace and a threat to Democracy itself. To turn this around, or at least attempt to, Facebook has pledged to "tackle the problem head-on and turn its powerful platform into a force for good." I'm not sure what that means but that's what they said here.
Oh, by the way, don't forget to Like and Follow Us on Facebook.