“Members of Congress and state attorneys general have strongly urged Facebook and Twitter to ban the 12 influencers. The social media companies have been reluctant to banish them but have cracked down in other ways by labeling posts as misleading, removing outright lies and banning some repeat offenders.”
At some point, it’s a legitimate national security risk and there needs to be more proactive resistance.
Since this article was from May 2021, these questions were just now being asked about if we should do something about disinformation? It’s kind of a joke at this point to care because, by that point, millions of people interacted with and believed such lies. The results of such disinformation are a very high death toll, resistance to life-saving vaccines, and now more people dying as a result of said disinformation. It is possible that such anti-vaccine leaders are worth over a billion dollars to these tech companies, and thus removing them would hurt Facebook’s bottom dollar:
So social media companies dragged their feet and slowly began banning such individuals, yet many of them have amassed such a large following they are still grifting thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars despite being banned.
Yet, de-platforming does cause some concern:
Shutting down conspiracy theorists and campaigners risks making them into martyrs and could even lend credence to their arguments that they are speaking truth to power.
This seems like it fits here (a little levity can’t hurt ) – we all know about Facebook the umbrella company changing its name to Meta, right?:
But if they don’t have a platform from which to spread their poison…
I would agree more with your position here. I would have shut them down years ago if it were up to me. I know several people though who were pushed further into conspiracy land though due to de-platforming, as it fit well with their prior worldview of government/scientists/boogeyman suppressing the truth. So de-platforming made these people more likely to believe the conspiracies.
But in terms of overall effect, deplatforming might be helpful… if there aren’t other avenues of communication. I’m thinking of Trump and Facebook and Twitter as a counterexample, for instance. There are still the political networks.
More deception and manipulation
“COVID has shown me the deadly side of fake news and anti vaccination people. After multiple conversations with my father, who refuses to wear a mask or get vaccinated, I was getting very concerned.
I asked him what sites he would read the conspiracy-based things on, and he mentioned the website that ran the network I had built the machine on.
I told him that I worked for the company previously and literally chose the stories and wrote the headlines and not to trust it. He wouldn’t listen to me. He had been too manipulated.
I decided to come forward with my identity after this. I was never involved in QAnon or these COVID conspiracies, and I fully support those who are in active campaigns against them, but they are seeds of what I created.
I believed in anarchy, was paid to build a manipulation machine, and I ran it like a video game while not thinking about the humans that were actually believing in the articles.”
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