Propaganda, a false message aimed at twisting recipients’ minds in a particular manner, is a dangerous weapon in the world today. In many cases, propaganda is advanced through powerful social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Instagram (Cohen). The effect of such messages is excellent since it escalated hatred across the world and is also a threat to democracy (Cohen). Therefore, it is essential to keep constant checks and monitor social media companies to ensure they do not aid in escalating propaganda worldwide; this will help protect democracy and ensure harmony.
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False messages metastasized faster than truth and are also much likely to be believed. These messages are always designed in a particular manner meant to fit and agree with the audience. In many cases, they address an issue in society and offer the most inappropriate solution (Cohen). For example, the belief that Jews are an unwanted race is escalated through social media platforms; this message is always availed to communities that are already at war with Jews, thus fueling their anger. In the end, hate, disunity, and violence become rampant.
Propaganda is also a threat to democracy and nationalism to all democratic nations in the world. Elections in any country, for example, the US, can easily be manipulated through social media. To achieve this, individuals have to make posts and comments designed to avert their way of thinking, corrupt it and cause them to make predetermined decisions. The effect is that democracy will not be worth anymore as a few individuals can decide who wins a particular election. Propaganda is also responsible for violence, crime, and murder that surround elections in several countries. For example, the genocide witnessed in Myanmar can be blamed on social media companies (Cohen). All the propaganda surrounding the genocide was aired through social media platforms, and nobody was arrested for making offensive or inciting posts on the media.
Social media companies care more about increasing their share value than the safety of individuals. They peg their claims on the fact that there is freedom of expression. Such claims are illogic as they contradict moral obligations (Cohen). For example, a hotel manager would never entertain a violent customer in his hotel because he has freedom of expression. Instead, it is his moral obligation to chase him away for the safety of other people. Social media companies should also adopt such moral obligations to safeguard other citizens.
The major challenge is the freedom such companies enjoy and the protection they have from the government. One can easily presume that the CEO.s of these big social media companies control what a large population of the world sees and hears. Instead, the companies should adopt the moral obligation of blocking users and posts to metastasized propaganda against a particular cause. Such freedom is dangerous since it makes the fate of many people depend on social media. Although these companies have in the recent past done their best to limit violence in their platforms, the efforts are literarily unacceptable (Cohen). They are not what is expected, and they usually protect their users even if they are tools of violence.
The most appropriate way to control it would be to involve people around the world. Elected leaders are the best choice because citizens prefer them to make decisions on their behalf. It is best to allow the government to have the right to decide what information is toxic to their citizens and what is not as they best understand the population they represent. The idea is not limiting freedom of speech but rather denying toxic people and companies the platform of spreading hatred. The protection of citizens from racists, terrorists, and child abusers should remain paramount to these companies (Cohen). These companies should exhibit responsibility on their platforms and be mindful of those affected by individual posts on their platforms.
These social media companies are not intending to pull down the negative posts and highly inciting posts. Televisions, newspapers, and magazines always limit what people can see and hear. The same should apply to these companies, as they are much larger and richer companies. However, the primary reason for their profound reluctance to pull down such posts is their business model. Their business mainly relies on engagement and constant exchange of information by their customers on their various platforms. Lies and false news bring about the most extensive engagement (Cohen). These companies fear that putting restrictions that limit the content posted on their platforms will make key politicians and users leave their platforms, thus negatively affecting their finances.
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It is frustrating that although many social media companies have banned using false propaganda on their platforms when paid, they will run and help design the information to fit a particular audience (Cohen). Such acts prove that the majority of tech companies prefer making money to safeguarding people’s lives. Moreover, these acts of betrayal are hazardous since using a particular platform to spread false messages, especially political life, will cause the collapse of governments and loss of lives.
In conclusion, social media platforms have easy access to millions of people. Therefore, these large tech companies must start checking posts and advertisements before posting them. These companies should adopt policies of filtering and checking posts before they are posted to protect users from harm brought by these posts. The government needs to regulate and limit the freedom of these tech companies. All social media companies should be held liable for harms caused by posts, advertisements, and users on their platforms; this will safeguard many from racial, geographical, political, and religious discrimination.
Cohen, Sasha B. “The kind of word we all want: Maybe just maybe we can stop the greatest propaganda machine in history.” Vital Speeches International, vol. 12, no. 1, 2019, pp. 2-5, Academic Search Complete.