Social media is blamed for a lot of society’s ills. But does it deserve this tag? Is it really at fault for the sad state many countries find themselves in with violence and crime?
There have been people torturing and killing people and animals and broadcasting the video live on Facebook and other social media. Three families of victims from a 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, are suing Google, Twitter, and Facebook for allowing the spread of extremist messages, most notably ISIS.
But is all this violence and crime really the fault of social networks? Did the birth of social networks lead to all of this? We asked a few of our writers, “Is social media responsible for all the bad that is happening in the world?”
Simon doesn’t think social media is responsible, but he does believe they could do more to prevent it. Social media’s “ability to spread a message around the globe within seconds makes it a potent carrier for people who wish to do harm.” He doesn’t think removing social media will stop the evil, but he does believe violent people could be “better stopped and removed when discovered.”
Additionally, he notes “we’ve already seen a fair share of police charges come down on people for threatening action over social media, but for those where a simple arrest is simply not enough, they shouldn’t be able to use the channel to spread such messages.”
Ada thinks blaming social media is akin to blaming the messenger. She explains social media is just a medium. “They might facilitate a process, but they don’t create it.” Additionally, she asked, “How can media indoctrinate somebody if he or she isn’t susceptible to indoctrination?”
Alex doesn’t believe social media has created our problems but doesn’t think it has helped either. “It’s all too often an echo chamber designed to reinforce our beliefs, no matter how terrible.”
Miguel notes that social media has just “accelerated human nature” and that it hasn’t changed it. “We are just now discovering both the ugly and beautiful side of humanity in platforms that connect two billion people across the world.”
I agree wholeheartedly with everyone here but especially Miguel. Like with the mass shooting in San Bernardino – those people didn’t commit that horrific crime because they saw messages on social media. They already had that within them. But certainly, yes, social media could do more to stop these things from being spread.
Do you agree with the opinions of our writers? Is social media not at fault of anything other than possibly being too lax in this area? Or is social medial responsible for all the bad that is happening in the world? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.