(TargetLiberty.org) – There’s no doubt there are some good things about using social media. It does allow you to stay in contact with family and friends, and socialize with like-minded strangers. But the threat it poses to your personal freedoms and privacy makes it questionable, at best. Are racking in the “likes” and “shares” really worth sacrificing your liberties?
For much of the last 100 years, Americans have been facing threats to the First Amendment. Most of those threats came from potential interference in individual speech.
Modern Day Threats
These days we have a lot more to worry about. We now face systemic challenges from elements like social media — and that’s every bit as much of a gut punch to the First Amendment.
People used to worry about the government spying on them. But today, social media users doing most of the surveillance work all on our own, simply by sharing our lives in posts.
When you add social media use to the abilities of artificial intelligence to collect online data about all of us, the once anonymous speech that created the Federalist Papers now seems nearly nonexistent.
George Orwell wrote about a “Big Brother” presence that was dependant upon the government installing a spying device in every home. Today, we’re the people installing those devices. It’s not just home surveillance, either. Thanks to smartphones and watches, we carry around these monitoring devices everywhere we go.
Data Tracking and Fake News
Not only are you being tracked by your phone, but these sites collect data every time you post to your social media account. More and more, personal privacy is becoming a thing of the past.
But that’s not the only threat social media poses — there’s also the problem of disinformation. An abundance of fake news consistently gets passed around on social media. And you can’t blame it all on your wingnut uncle. Fake news is also being pushed in a significant way by bots. In 2017, nearly half of all of the links shared on social media relating to health and disease were fake. A large percentage of them were shared and posted by bots.
We once considered social media a liberating technology. However, it has become more of a conduit for surveillance and political manipulation.
The good thing is, it allows ordinary people, journalists, and civic groups to reach massive audiences at little to no cost. The downside, however, is it also provides an extremely useful platform for bad actors. We now have to worry about both foreign and domestic influence operations.
Conservatives also have to worry about political bias on social media as it hinders free speech often. Facebook and Twitter are notorious for removing content posted by Conservative users.
Even President Trump has been targeted. In May, Twitter added a disclaimer to two of his tweets, implying that he was spreading fake news. This move by Twitter resulted in Trump signing an executive order to “…defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history.”
Trump complained these companies have used their powers to “…censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences.”
It’s not necessary to delete all of your social media accounts today. But, you should be aware of the inherent dangers and risks they pose to your personal privacy and freedoms.
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