Social media’s role in democracy: More harmful than helpful?

Social media’s role in democracy: More harmful than helpful?
Image: LU Staff

[Ed. – Talk about timing: This post came out before the story of Facebook and Twitter suppressing the Biden laptop story broke.]

Last week something extraordinary happened: Twitter briefly suspended the official account of the president of the United States, preventing him from posting until he deleted a tweet it said violated its rules. From merely hiding the president’s tweets, as it had done before, the company briefly stopped him from tweeting altogether.

Then, three days later, Yelp announced it would start formally flagging businesses accused of racism based solely on media reports.

Those two developments crystallized once again a key question that increasingly shadows our age: How can the growing power of social media companies coexist with the foundations of democracy? A democratic society rests upon an informed citizenry free to openly debate their shared future. The First Amendment guarantees this, enshrining both the right of the press to cover the unvarnished reality of daily events and the right of the public to consider all ideas. …

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