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  • Writer's pictureKim McGahey

Coastal Common Sense

Social media has become a war zone for personal vendetta and unaccountable verbal abuse. What started out a few years ago as a novel and innocent way to communicate directly and share ideas with others on the internet has devolved into a dark place where people and governments let loose with unlimited insulting comments in order to gain command and control.

The whiz kids at Harvard, to their credit, understood the tremendous power of the internet to disseminate all kinds of information with the click of a button. They also saw the immense potential to bring individual users together to share personal information. In the beginning, millions of those users clamored to get on board this fast moving great social media experiment.

The ease of operation was almost impossible to resist. The Microsoft technology that made internet access as simple as clicking a mouse put the world's population at users' fingertips and allowed individuals to communicate immediately with each other without the expensive phone company interface.

The ability to instantaneously send and receive all your most personal anecdotes, aspirations and accomplishments became an intoxicating addiction that users could not live without. Having the world at your beck and call was a greater temptation than people could avoid. Social media seemed like a friendly, confidential way to disclose and gain reinforcement for your innermost thoughts; despite the fact that you were broadcasting your personal data to millions of other unknown users seeking that same privacy pretense.

And for a while it was a panacea of enlightenment as users easily found other friends as a receptive audience to confessions and admissions that they never before made public. It was somehow therapeutic to be on the psychologist's couch with millions of other people sharing opinions, ideas and attitudes. You could say anything to anybody without restriction - it was altruistic electronic freedom!

But then it became readily apparent that there was no accountability; nobody or nothing to control the unruly comments that inevitably would surface if people were left to their own self-discipline - on lack thereof. Users discovered that they could say anything good, bad or indifferent without being subject to any monitoring.

The floodgates opened as users were able to criticize, condemn and confront others with impunity. As soon as a topic came up they didn't like, the addicted lit up social media with a surge of mean-spirited hateful rhetoric shouting it down. The screams became more immediate, louder and negative as social media assumed a dark function of judge and jury demanding thought and speech control.

No longer was it an optimistic fountain of good intentions for users to freely drink from. It quickly became a poison well for censorship to be weaponized by those companies controlling the platforms. Then governments realized they could manipulate those companies to their own selfish political ends, resulting in a back room methodology forcing private enterprise to perform the government's dirty tricks.

Thus, the Twitter and Facebook corruption with the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation: an Orwellian maneuver by politicians to force businesses to deprive the public of the freedom of information and consequently the freedom of speech.

Not only has social media declined into a hateful individual insult forum, but it has enabled the government to shut down the free flow of information. Either a new platform will be invented to secure our 1st Amendment rights, or the government will continue to manipulate the masses by weaponizing social media as it exists today. Caveat emptor!

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