Posts tagged #Facebook

Would We Be Less Divided As Nation If Facebook And Twitter Didn't Exist? Or, Are Social Media Platforms A Reflection Of What Lies Within The American Heart?

In our hyper-partisan society, it seems the one thing everyone can agree on is that social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have not made America a more unified and respectful place.

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reports 57 percent of Americans agree social media networks including Facebook and Twitter do more to divide the country than unite while 35 percent polled apparently have never been on political Twitter because they think the social sites help bring the nation together. One scroll through a politically related Twitter feed and those 35 percent would quickly change their mind.

In addition, 51 percent believe social media spread lies and falsehoods more than spreading news and information.

Sixty-one percent feel social media spreads more unfair attacks and rumors against public figures and corporations while 32 percent think these sites hold public figures and corporations accountable.

Finally, 26 percent say they have blocked or unfriended a contact on Facebook or another social media site due to their political views.

There are good aspects to social media that we all enjoy including learning about news we might’ve missed, watching funny videos and staying in touch with old friends and family.

However, it’s hard to deny these sites have also contributed largely to the hyper-political and hyper-partisan culture we live in. Every day there are people that find something new to be upset, angry and enraged about politically.

The thousands of daily hate-filled, personal attack Tweets aimed at public figures including members of Congress is disturbing. We live in a society that does not respect those in authority.

I’m not saying you have to agree with a representative on any or all issues because their position may go against your own religious and political beliefs but the personal, vile, vulgar, hate-filled posts on social media doesn’t help to move the political discussion forward. It just makes our society and politics more toxic which isn’t good for anyone.

Sometimes I wonder if we didn’t have Facebook and Twitter would our politics be so personal and toxic? Could there be a chance that we’d be less divided on issues and could find more common ground if our national politics didn’t seem like such a battlefield that is fought daily in 280 characters or less on Twitter?

Or, have people always felt this way, and social media just amplifies thoughts and behavior that has always been there?

I believe social media has played a part in creating this more toxic environment that has contributed to our nation becoming more divided, but social sites aren’t the only reason we’re so divided.

The root of our divided country isn’t just the social platforms that allow awful people to say terrible things. The comments online are just a simple reflection of what lies within the users posting these messages.

Unfortunately, our society continues to move further away from a moral and religious foundation which is the main reason our politics and culture have become so dark and toxic. The moral collapse of our country is getting posted, liked, shared and Tweeted daily by the minute.

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Dr. Chad Whittle holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his weekly column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

UK Government Establishing Regulator To Oversee Social Media And The Spread Of "Fake News" And "Disinformation." Will This Lead To Censorship?

The UK government has established the world’s first independent regulator to try and help social media giants like Facebook in check according to CNET.

Companies could face fines for not following the new requirements that will be implemented.

The goal of the new internet regulator is to make the web a safer place.

The regulator will ensure social media networks tackle problems including:

-Incitement of violence and the spread of violent (including terrorist) content

-Encouragement of self-harm or suicide

-The spread of disinformation and fake news

-Cyberbullying

-Children's access to inappropriate material

-Child exploitation and abuse content

The new requirements will apply to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media networks and other websites.

I believe everyone can agree that we don’t want children to have access to pornographic content or that violent inciting content should be widely available online to be viewed. However, what does concern me is who gets to decide what “disinformation” and “fake news” is?

We’ve already seen social sites deactivate and delete the accounts of Alex Jones and other political figures for their posts. While I don’t agree with Jones and others, they should be able to speak freely online unless they are encouraging violence or harm toward others.

While the new UK regulator has no jurisdiction over the U.S. and our access to social media content, this new governmental figure could push the social giants toward blocking certain websites in the UK because they feel it’s “disinformation” or “fake news.”

Wonder if he or she decides that BreitBart or The Daily Caller is “fake news”?

Would you be ok with that? If you’re a liberal, then maybe you’d say yes.

However, what if the new regulator says Mother Jones, CNN, or MSNBC is spreading “disinformation”? Which actually wouldn’t be a lie, CNN spread fake news for two and half years about Trump and Russia, but regardless, I would not agree with their websites being blocked off social media.

It’s a tricky and potential dangerous slippery slope when a government grants someone the ability to fine social sites for content on their websites they deem spreading “disinformation” or “fake news.”

Will this new UK regulator make the internet a safer place or just a more censored place?

I lean towards these new policies creating more censorship than safety.

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Dr. Chad Whittle holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his weekly column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Chad Live on Major League Liberty 3/11/2019

Chad joined the crew of Major League Liberty on Monday night to discuss his recent article on the 2020 election and if a Democrat will be able to successfully use social media to face the “Tweeter-in-Chief” Donald Trump. Dr. Whittle’s interview starts at 8:43 in the video. Read Chad’s article here

Chad Whittle on The Melody Burns Show 3/7/19

Dr. Whittle joined Melody Burns to discuss the 2020 presidential election and how the candidates will use social media like Twitter to reach the voters with their message.

Chad at 'The Stream': Which Democrat Will Win the Twitter Primary to Face the Tweeter-in-Chief in 2020?

The 2020 primary is underway on the Democrat side of the aisle with almost every Democrat in America planning or considering launching a bid for the nomination. It will be interesting to watch the cable networks try to fit all of the Democrats onto the same stage for a debate.

We live in a new era in presidential politics thanks to social media and partially to Donald Trump, who used Twitter and other social media to his advantage in 2016.

The traditional way of winning the White House is to knock on doors, kiss babies, and hold campaign rallies in swing states. While these activities are still helpful and necessary, there is another component that is just as important, if not more important in modern politics: winning the social media primary.

Read the rest from Chad’s latest published article here at The Stream

Netflix Has Found Religion: Streaming Service To Launch Christian Shows. Microsoft's New Browser Warns You About Fake News and Chick Fil A Keeping The Faith And Not Opening On Big Game Sunday 2/1/19

Fox News reported that Netflix is planning to launch a slate of original faith and family-friendly programming that will be exclusive on the video service. 

Microsoft’s mobile browser, Edge, is issuing fake news warnings to users in a new update for iOS and Android devices.

The news fake news warning is powered by NewsGuard, which rates each website you browse to and gives it either a red warning for unreliable or green for trusted in your address bar. 

This idea sounds good in theory, to help people know they’re visiting a website that may contain fake news, but my question is, who gets to define what “fake news” is? And what journalists are involved in deciding which websites are real and fake?

If you’ve deleted your Facebook over privacy concerns or never signed up to a social media website to begin with, you better hope you picked your friends wisely  because according to a new study, your behavior can be predicted even if you’ve never been on social media.

StudyFinds.org reported that a team of scientists from Vermont and Australia found that by examining the tweets of those close to someone, they could predict a person’s behavior, even if they’re not on social media!

Plus, Facebook has pledged to invest $300 million in local news initiatives, including partnerships, programs, and content over the next three years according to The Blaze.

“The company said it would focus on supporting local newsrooms and helping news organizations build sustainable business models.

Not even a Super Bowl can get Chick fil a to open on Sunday. With the big game taking place at on Sunday Febuary 3rd in Atlanta, many have wondered if the tasty chicken sandwich  restaurant will open its Mercedes-Benz Stadium location for the big game. 

All that today on this edition of "A Whittle Bit of Commentary." ChadWhittle.com (C) 2019 Chad Whittle. 

 

Is Social Media Addiction The Next American Mental Health Crisis?

There is a growing debate among Congress and the political pundit class on whether the Trump administration should consider breaking up the tech titans or if Congress should pass new regulations on Facebook, Google, Twitter and just for the fun of it, I’ll mention MySpace in this conversation as well. Yes, MySpace still exists. No, I don’t know anyone who uses it.

While freedom of speech issues on social networks and the possible breaking up of the Silicon Valley giants are both topics of great importance, the mental health issues that are being caused by social media use is equally as important.

Recent studies report a rise in levels of anxiety and depression among teenage and young adult users of social media. The BBC reported on a study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior that found participants who said they use seven or more social networks were more than three times as those that use between zero-two platforms to have higher levels of general anxiety symptoms.

 A study in the Clinical Psychological Science journal with a sample of over 500,000 U.S. adolescents in grades 8-12, found that between 2010-2015 there was an increased rate of depressive symptoms and suicide-related outcomes among those who spent more time on social media and smartphones with these participants reporting more mental health issues than those that spent time on non-screen activities.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology discussed the growing trend of people seeking surgery to make their face be more appealing for selfies. In 2017, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that 55 percent of surgeons mentioned having patients that were seeking surgery procedures due to social media. 

These are just some of the many recent academic and mainstream press stories on the growing trend of mental health issues due to social media use. However, none of this should come as a surprise.

If you have spent any time on a social media platform, then you have encountered someone that is obsessed with likes, swipes and follows. Or, maybe you are the person that is spending hours per day trying to become social media famous.

This is not healthy behavior as research and common sense continues to prove. We have a generation of fame-obsessed teens and college students that I am afraid are becoming only more infatuated with fleeting social media fame. This behavior could be not only bad for their mental health but their physical health as well. If you browse YouTube, you’ll find videos of teenagers trying very dangerous stunts in an attempt to go viral.

The next time Congress holds hearings concerning social media and freedom of speech on these platforms and regulation, I hope Senators will also hold the wizards of Silicon Valley’s feet to the fire concerning their highly addictive products.

It’s not all Mark Zuckerberg’s fault. Healthy behaviors should start at home and in schools, but it’s time social media companies do more to help turn the tide of mental health issues that their products are no doubt partially contributing to in young adults.

Helping teens and young adults have less mental health issues is something we all can give a thumbs up to.

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How To Fix Facebook Before Users "Unfriend" Zuckerberg's Creation En Masse

Facebook is a mess right now.

The Mark Zuckerberg social giant is currently in the middle of multiple controversies that range from top executives leaving the company, to privacy concerns among a multitude of users, to talks of investigations into antitrust violations from Capitol Hill.

It seems the company is getting it from all sides and that many are wanting to “unfriend” them.

From a user standpoint, fixing Facebook isn’t as complicated as it may seem.

In fact, it’s a very simple solution.

Facebook users are becoming increasingly concerned with what personal data the company is obtaining and for what purposes they are using their data.

If Facebook wants to calm user’s fears, the social network should give users greater control over how their data is used. This would include providing more controls over how their data is used for advertising purposes and provide more opt-in and opt-out policies for consumers that would allow them to decide how their data is used.

Another move the company should make is to offer paid subscription options that provide users with an ad-free experience and also allows no data collection whatsoever by the social site. In addition, with a higher tier subscription plan, the site could offer a more encrypted experience for users to help protect their data better.

Not only would subscription tiers be great PR for the company to show they’re concerned about their user’s data, it would also help make up for loss revenue from their declining advertising business.

A report on Fast Company reports consumption time on Facebook was down from 16.5% in September 2017 to 14.3% in September of this year. The less people log onto Facebook, the less time they are seeing display ads resulting in a decline in revenue. However, the site is still second to only Google in digital consumption, so it’s not time to panic yet if you’re a Facebook investor. The company is still making billions.

To help stop accusations of political bias, Zuckerberg should show goodwill by creating a board that includes leaders from both the right and the left that meets to help discuss and put into practice policies that make sure all voices are heard fairly on the platform.

Facebook is a company in crisis on many fronts, but it’s silly to think the tech behemoth will suddenly disappear like MySpace. The company is almost too big to fail at this point and is too ingrained in our daily lives and culture for there to be a mass revolt of users away from the platform.

However, there are changes that the company can and should make in order to turn the ship around before it enters into uncharted tech territories that could eventually sink it because history has proven that even some of the world’s largest corporations can hit a financial iceberg and go down like the Titanic.  

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Here's Where The Government Can Start If They Want To Break Up Silicon Valley's Tech Titans

According to media reports, the Trump White House has drafted an executive order that would open an antitrust investigation into the business practice of some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent firms including Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

The investigation would examine whether online platforms have violated antitrust laws and address online platform bias as well. President Trump has Tweeted his concerns about the potential political bias of some of the nation’s largest social platforms that all lean left.

The federal government has a mixed record of success when it comes to breaking up mega-corporations.

The most famous examples of the government successfully breaking up companies include Rockefeller’s dominant Standard Oil and the 1980s breakup of the AT&T/Bell telephone system. 

We are many years, court cases and Trump Tweets away from coming even a 100 miles close to a breakup of any technology or social media company.

However, for the sake of discussion and argument, here is where the federal government could start if they want to breakup some of the biggest tech titans in the world:

1.    Require Facebook to sale Instagram and WhatsApp. According to recent reports, Instagram has over 800 million users and WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion. Facebook has over 2 billion users. That is a lot of access to user’s data for Mark Zuckerberg to have.

2.    Require Google to sale YouTube. The video sharing website reports nearly 1.8 billion users each month, almost matching Facebook’s 2 billion users.

3.    Spinoff Amazon into multiple smaller companies. Possible spinoffs: Twitch.TV, Whole Foods Market, Zappos, and the list could go on.

Of all the tech companies, Twitter is in the best position to not be broken up because the company is smaller than their bigger rivals and the company has not invested as heavily into acquiring other companies. If you want to include Apple on the list, you could require the spinoff of Apple Music or not allow the company to produce original content, but only offer music and TV shows on their apps from third-party producers. 

As I said before, we are years away from any potential breakup even becoming a possible reality, but there is no doubt that the tech titans have more influence and control over our lives than prior oligopolies could even imagine.

Instead of antitrust lawsuits and breakups, a quicker and simpler solution may be to pass more regulation that protects user’s privacy and governs more how these firms operate.   

Either way, the days of Silicon Valley having a blank check (or unlimited Bitcoin for all of the tech-minded readers) to do what they want is quickly coming to a close. 

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