Scathing post against social media giants from Alan Jacobs regarding the racist attacks on England football players. I couldn’t agree more with any of it, but Alan comes out swinging right from the start (emphasis mine):
“When social media companies say they can’t do anything about filthy, racist abuse on their platforms, what they mean is: We can’t do anything about that abuse without changing our policies in ways that might inconvenience us. Right now the foulest abuse imaginable is being poured out on a 19-year-old English soccer player because Twitter and Instagram can’t be bothered to deal with it.”
Colour me sarcastically shocked if Twitter or Instagram wouldn’t lift a finger—real or proverbial—to do a damn thing about this. Twitter in particular let Trump spew out hatred, misinformation, fear, and bullshit for four years. Only after his abusing their platform to incite insurrection against American democracy and the will of the people did they do anything about it. Far too little, far too late; the damage was long done. If this were to affect their bottom line you’d better believe they would’ve put a stop to it sooner but, alas, money talks.
“Around the world legislators are lazily considering laws that might force the social media companies to care. I doubt that many such laws will be passed, and I am sure that any that do get passed will first undergo a very thorough watering-down.”
I’m not holding my breath on this either. Rich corporations, also known as political donors, use our current pay-to-play system to write the rules while politicians look the other way and count the money. Absolute power corrupts and all that. Then there’s this from the linked Guardian article:
“A number of high-profile Twitter users gave the players their support after the game, while Instagram has been flooded with positive comments in an effort to drown out the racist abuse.”
But is that really enough? To me that’s analogous to “thoughts and prayers” which, sadly, are only useless rhetoric and lip service to solving problems of this magnitude. As with all movements to stamp out intolerable behaviour, it’s action that’s needed from those with massive clout to garner attention, which Alan also points out:
“I think the only thing that will change the behavior of these malicious, misery-dealing, greed-besotted people is if celebrities — let’s say, as a start, everyone with over a million followers on whatever platform — boycott those platforms.”
This is where it starts, but also where it ends:
“Those celebrities have the power that even governments don’t seem to have. But my suspicion is that they are as addicted as everyone else….”
If I hadn’t already deactivated my Twitter account, I would have following this vitriolic and hateful garbage being voiced on the platform. I realize I’m just one person who, at the end of the day, has all the power of a wisp of stale air in comparison to celebrities, but it doesn’t matter. I’m taking a stand against the abuse Twitter has fostered, and, through their negligence and denial has allowed to fester like an open wound. I flat out refuse to ever put another single thought, word, or promotion into their platform by being part of it.
“It’s time for a Butlerian jihad against the social-media giants. Raze them to the ground and salt the foundations. It’s them or us.”
One. Hundred. Percent.