Is it fair to hold social media platforms responsible for the actions of its users?

October 4, 2017

Is it fair to hold social media platforms responsible for the actions of its users?

We all know that social media can play an integral part in uniting us and in bringing us together for causes, like donation efforts for Hurricane relief funds, etc. However, lawmakers in the US now are attacking Twitter saying that their lack of action towards racism is a problem.

Two lawmakers, Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman and Emanuel Cleaver, sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, saying that Twitter’s lack of response to racial tweets is appalling. This all stemming from recent news in which Facebook and Twitter are front in center in an election scandal, regarding the 2016 election.

Facebook has stated that nearly 3,000 politically targeted ads were strategically placed to sway voters in KEY states for the GOP, there were over 200 Twitter accounts linked to Russia and it stated that 22 of these were also found to have FB accounts as well.

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The real issue here is that these social media platforms are allowing these damaging ads to be run on their sites, giving these very divisive people a platform from which they can spew the hate. However, Facebook and Twitter are not the only ones US Congress is interested in speaking to, they have also reached out to Google.

The Senate Intelligence Community has a hearing on November 1st, where all three of these tech companies will have the opportunity for an open mic where they can openly testify how this occurred on their platform and could have swayed the election. Not to mention what will be done to deter this from happening in the future.

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It is not fair to say that Twitter, Facebook, and Google are spreading racism, hate, and fear. That would not be an accurate statement, what is accurate though is that they should have safeguards in place that notify them of any hate speech, radical thoughts and these accounts should be canceled or restricted or both.

It is scary to think that with a fake social media account or a real one for that matter- all that is needed is a new email account, which Gmail can provide in under 2 minutes and you have access to the whole world and to share your ideas, good or bad.

To think that people have strategically planned to influence the “democratic” process of elections by manipulating and playing off of people’s fears is despicable. The fact that these tech giants have not put a stop it even more so. What would this world look like if people were censured against their rants and raves, would this infringe on their first amendment rights as granted to the American people in the decree of their constitution? Where do we draw the line, what do you think?