Big week for me on Twitter—I saw the number of those who follow me on Twitter cross the 1 million mark, which is a milestone of sorts, especially since I have never purchased followers and the number has grown organically. I’m not sure if you knew that you can actually buy Facebook friends or Twitter followers, but you can, which some celebrities do in order to make them appear more popular or influential. I have over 2.2 million Facebook friends as well, and I’ve never bought any of those either. I’m convinced that many of the Twitter followers and some Facebook “friends” are those who sign up just to spew vicious comments toward me. I’m happy to provide a place for them to deposit their bile and vile because it keeps them busy and therefore too occupied to do real damage to society and because it prevents them from unleashing their phony fury at folks who might actually care and be bothered by it. I see my social media platforms as the electronic equivalent of a mosquito trap. When they spend their time stuck on my pages, they aren’t out hurting the feelings or saying nasty things about nice people who aren’t used to cowardly comments from people who hide behind fake names and monikers so they will never have to stand up and be accountable for their comments.
Here’s what might shock you—today 62% of adults get their news from social media according to Pew Research Center. 2/3 of Facebook users get their news from that platform, and 59% of Twitter users get their news in bursts of 280 characters or less. Yikes! Most stuff on either of the media platforms is manufactured solely to entertain, mislead, sell something, or merely to spout an opinion—not to actually and factually report the news objectively and with balance. This is the equivalent of getting all one’s meals at the ice cream place—satisfies the sweet tooth, but hardly nutritious.
But with all the Congressional hearings about Facebook invading our privacy and selling our secrets so we can be pitched products based on something we posted to our so-called “friends,” there is something that ought to be more of a concern than being sold a fry pan just because we looked at a recipe on Facebook. We need to be outraged that social media platforms which pretend to simply allow us a space to communicate with friends, actually manipulate what information we receive, which is a form of non-government censorship and propaganda. My own Facebook page was taken down in 2012 for over 24 hours when I launched a page for Chick Fil-A appreciation Day because someone at Facebook decided that supporting Chick Fil-A because it’s CEO defended Biblical marriage was “dangerous.” Unfortunately, the CEO later apologized for his positions and promised never to give money to pro-marriage groups again. But Facebook routinely blocks or even banishes pro-Christian, pro-life, pro-Israel, and pro-conservative content. It has become increasingly manipulative about just who gets to see what you post. But if YOU post it to YOUR friends, why should some Silicon Valley Censor decide your “friends” can’t see it?
We mostly know when we sign up for social media that the information we share is public and can and will be used against us. But Americans need to demand that apart from truly offensive content that threatens physical violence, promotes obscene materials, or ridicules or falsely accuses people of crimes, we should be able to express honest and open views without some 20-something year old in California deciding that our conservative or Christian views don’t deserve to be shared. If Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms pretend to be public utilities, then we should treat them like a public utility and demand they not only serve their own biases and bigotry toward faith and the people who practice it. Or we may just start blocking THEM!
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