Social Media and the Government – Best Friends or Mere Acquaintances?

What are the existing problems (if any) with social media?

    • Should social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter be regulated, or should we try to separate them from government?
    • Who should decide what goes up — social media sites? government? third-party entities?
    • Who’s ultimately responsible under these conditions?
    • How can “abuse” be prevented and who should decide whether something is “abuse”?

In what ways should social media be limited or restrained?

  • It should live within the bounds of capitalism.
  • It should live within the bounds of individual liberty.
  • It should never encroach on the rights of U.S. citizens.
  • It should be completely separate from the government.

What is Facebook doing now?

  • It is deeply embedded with NATO.
  • It is working closely with the U.S. government to regulate the content of its users.
  • It is reporting and providing information directly to the government.

What happened as a result?

  • The market responded to Facebook’s questionable actions by devaluing its stocks (over $100 billion USD in market capitalization).
  • Many individuals were disgusted with Facebook’s online practices.
  • Zuckerberg testified in front of the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament.
  • Monitoring and regulation became the default solution to combat alleged Russian interference, though U.S. citizens will be caught in the crossfires of what information gets collected and disseminated by the U.S. government and its affiliates. Violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (i.e., the right to privacy).

What’s currently happening?

  • Facebook and the Atlantic Council (a think tank) have partnered to “prevent election-related propaganda from spreading on the social network” as well as to “boost its global election security efforts.”
  • The integrity of the Atlantic Council has come into question several times in the past.
  • It has received donations from more than twenty-five governments in which many have argued that they bought influence.
  • Private U.S. businesses have also been accused of buying influence via donations intended to help their businesses grow.

Important Questions to Consider:

  • Should Americans depend on the U.S. government to determine what can be shown on Facebook and other social media sites?
  • Should the government be able to intimidate Facebook to crack down on its users (majority of whom are citizens residing within the jurisdiction of the United States), especially when the government is unable to substantiate claims that foreign entities are hacking U.S. elections?
  • Hypocrisy: Why is it permissible for the U.S. to meddle in the elections of other nations, but it’s wrong for other nations to try to influence U.S. elections?