In the last couple of years, social media sites have taken massive hits, with some having been pulled into hearings due to third-party entities not following Internet community standards. Top concerns include the breach of privacy, fake news, hate speeches, extremist videos, and other related content.
Government inquiries and penalties on social media platforms, most recently on Twitter and Facebook, have also affected their stock prices. These developments have forced the social media giants into decisions have sparked intense debates on free speech and posed big challenges as they work to deliver what they promised their shareholders.
Did social media bend over and backward to the government?
As the government continues with its attacks and censorship on Twitter and Facebook, the companies’ stocks “roller coasted.”
A big issue is whether Twitter and Facebook should censor content that puts governments and politicians in the bad light. Some argue that social media platforms should make all content critical of the government available for all netizens to see. Content highly critical of one politician may be used to expose his or her wrongdoing. But, at the same time posting the content may mean bullying him online or in some cases already breaching the politician’s private life.
Another immediate concern is the proliferation of hate speeches and extremists videos. In many cases, social media platforms have failed to censor these and the government has deemed it neglectful
With this attempt to regulate content in social media platforms, some see it as the American government attempting to take money away from companies that have done more good than harm. Others say the government is taking the easy path: rather than dealing with the individuals and the entities truly doing the harm, they are going after Facebook and Twitter.
Fortunately or unfortunately, social media developed into global enterprises not easily contained by any one government.
Twitter emerging as winner amid government battles
Social media giants have since rolled out new policies and regulations to address the issues that have emerged. Depending on how you look at it, they either cleaned up their platforms or they have actually caved in.
In the end, it has become a mixture of strategies to survive and profit. For instance, Twitter is starting to have better days again.
In 2016, Twitter stocks fell to a record low when the platform seemingly became a channel where hate speeches and bullying had become rampant.
Today, the social media giant has become a completely different place, where official press releases and statements are being launched. The platform implemented its “Verified Accounts” where legitimate organizations and most-followed public figures could apply for. Twitter also continues to weed out questionable fake accounts.
This progress wasn’t easy, however. In 2016 as well, Twitter lost a significant amount of users on its platform. But by 2018, it started showing signs that it is back on its feet.
Although the somewhat endless hate speech and President Donald Trump’s inappropriate tirades are still on the platform, journalists, in response, use their media Twitter accounts to put issues at the forefront, open the platform for debates and set records straight.
The move comes as more and more millennials use Twitter to get their news, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. Facebook may still have the majority of the market share over Twitter, roughly 90 percent of the social media users, but when it comes to credibility, Twitter is winning the game.
(Featured image by Worawee Meepian via Shutterstock)
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