Little introduction is needed for this typically well-reasoned and clearly expressed Comment of the Day on the post, “The Facebook “Whistleblower” Thinks That The U.S. Needs More Censorship” by Extradimensional Cephalopod, except “Here you go…”
“So… it seems the Progressives have decided that Facebook needs to do something, and they’re basing everything on that. They’re not looking at all their options.
“The problem as they have described it is, “kids on social media are exposed to information which harms their mental well-being,” but they are only looking at options that involve putting rules and responsibilities on the social media companies.
“What’s wrong with this picture? Well, it ignores the responsibilities of the parent, the child, and the people who put harmful content on the internet in the first place. It ignores the question of how we can fill social media with edifying content instead (because that content is out there–there’s people on Instagram trying to help with body image problems), and the question of how the parent and child can work together to find that content (or just build a life outside of social media) while rejecting harmful content.
“The fundamental liability involved here is stagnation: known motivational limits. People build habits and addictions to things on the internet, because the internet is a source of instant gratification. This phenomenon is a manifestation of decadence: underregulated stagnation.
“The solution as the Progressives see it is dogma: overregulated stagnation. They want to put limits on what people are allowed to find on the internet.
“Granted, social media companies are definitely partly responsible for the problem, because their algorithms are indeed designed to get people addicted to social media and to show people anything and everything that will achieve that goal, regardless of how it shapes their worldview. This should not be surprising: that’s how they make money with sponsored and targeted ads. That’s how free media with advertisements has always worked, all the way back to radio dramas.
“If you want social media companies to make their services healthier for society (i.e. less mind-warping and addictive), then people will use those services less, and that ad revenue is going to go down. Social media companies will have to change their business model. It might involve charging their users, which in turn might affect people in poorer communities. That means the whole situation ties in with income inequality, which is also connected with all these businesses buying ad space in the first place to sell their products and services.
“As usual, the response will require some negotiation and coordinated participation from many different communities and groups if we’re going to do anything constructive. Constructive solutions are rarely unilateral, but they’re much more rewarding for everyone than anything we can force someone to do by law.
“I’d really like to see a world where the general public actually talks through all these aspects of the problem and comes up with constructive responses they’re willing to support instead of arguing about whether or not somebody should be forced to do something. Only when we can do that can we start building an economy where we just spread the useful work across more people instead of overworking everyone and forcing most people to pretend their jobs are necessary. (That’d reduce the corporate greed everyone hates so much, I’d wager.)”