I had a pleasant Easter. By the way, a great thing is that the WordPress blogger Beauty Beyond Bones announced on Twitter her engagement to her man. You can find her blog here:
Now, for a blog post, I thought this up with StoryLab.ai, an AI service that can assist with a blog story post…
Having the right to free speech is not a privilege. There will always be repercussions when people express their opinions. The truth is that watching in silence while others voice their opinions will also have repercussions.
The effectiveness of Twitter as the town square is that, although everyone with an Internet connection can contribute, Twitter, while I enjoy participating, tends to highlight the voices of only a few. The collective voices on Twitter tend to belong to those on the left.
These voices often belong to writers, politicians, actors, artists, and musicians, but they can also be anyone imaginable. Years ago, I felt I was doing great having a modest Twitter account, and I’ve seldom felt like giving it up.
Good information flies on Twitter. However, Twitter is criticized for its lax approach, disturbing content that litters some users’ accounts, and for its algorithm’s ability to bury tweets that would be favourable for the right. The situation is complicated, but here are some thoughts about it.
- The Debate
Elon Musk, who founded Tesla and SpaceX, believes that, for the future, Twitter needs to be a town square where all speech should be permitted. Twitter needs a lot of change before that can happen, according to Musk. At present, Twitter has a reputation for favouring tweets from leftist-leaning microbloggers, amplifying those voices, while restricting voices who are right-leaning.
This is probably because many Twitter employees are liberal-leaning. There is a suspicion that Twitter has a bias towards tweets from a leftist perspective built into its algorithm. The best example is that Twitter was the first social media platform to issue a permanent ban against Trump, who was formerly an advocate for Twitter, before the charge of insurrection came up following the riot at Capitol Hill when Trump added fuel to the fire.
Elon Musk, one of the biggest shareholders now at Twitter, wants to make changes to help free speech flourish on Twitter. In reality, he may hurt the value of the Twitter stock if he decides to take the position that Twitter is a poor investment, and he goes on to sell his majority share. In other words, he is pressuring Twitter to buy it.
- Hate Speech
Many people charge Twitter with being nasty. Hateful messages are often started on Twitter, before being carried over to rival social media platforms, such as Gettr and Parler. Using computers, people can tweet a liturgy of extreme positions that can include attacks on people who are different from them, as well as criticism and a culture that seeks to convince people that a particular view is correct.
The idea of tweets like these makes them hard to direct because there are lots of them, and the guidelines for discourse ought to, in an optimal world, be material in all cases, not only for tweets calling for savagery and other outrageous positions.
- Free Speech
Free speech refers to the right to form opinions and express ideas without interference. Remember George Orwell’s famous book, 1984, looking at a communist society where free speech has been abolished. Even in 2022, there are a tremendous number of controls leveled at speakers on social media, because the twenty-first century is the first time in history that we have had social media.
We are still seeing social’s power over people, and some seek some common ground to keep it fair, but you are not prevented from speaking your mind. Sounds great, right? It is muddled, be that as it may.
Elon Musk believes free speech is for the best, but some thinkers believe that out-of-control social media poses a threat to democracy, rather than lending it insight. For example, widespread lies about a specific subject could weigh a majority down, giving them disinformation they believe to be accurate. Disinformation is a problem where opinions that have little or no merit seem normal and commonplace.
According to those who accuse social media platforms of disinformation, there are “correct” perspectives to take, which cannot be associated with disinformation. I don’t think this is so, as people have a right to support falsehoods if those are significant to them. On Twitter people argue back and forth.
As long as a substantial number of people believe in a lie, it is good to treat it as a potential truth. That is why people debate. While most people accept, for example, that the Earth is round, there are to this day flat-earthers.
We have seen Earth from the vantage point of space; we know it is round. To flat-earthers, those space voyages are fake, and the Earth is as flat as it was believed to be in ancient times. That said, perhaps there are unrecognized realities where a flat Earth exists that we are unaware of.
There is the possibility that the Earth may at times be flat from other perspectives; why shouldn’t this be conceived of as a possibility?
There is no doubt that there is disinformation on social media, including on Twitter. How much damage can disinformation potentially do?
- Hate speech is harmful and must be fought against
If we let hate run wild on social media, hate will not take much for its flames to fan. I am begging the question, but if you give the haters an inch, they are going to take a mile. A herd mentality is in evidence in social media, which means that there could soon be additional subsets of the world population with hate in their head.
In 2022, on Twitter, as hate speech became more and more part of ordinary life, there have been attempts to stem the tide, like banning hatemongers, and reducing visibility, via the algorithm, of tweets that have the flavour of hate. When I was young, I was all about free speech until I got confused in college. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so smart.
I didn’t know as much as I thought I knew. A responsibility to the truth is difficult. There are so many bad people in a world that many would like to view as “good.”
We should not be separated by hateful ideologies when everyone should be able to live a decent life regardless of race, gender, income, etc. Hate has, at times, been such a horror that it is difficult to relate to it in any capacity. Victims of hate, like people who are bullied on the Internet in a way that erodes their mental health, need protections that a decision like opening Twitter to additional free speech may not afford them.
The Internet, as it’s understood, as on Twitter, will continue to be a jungle, a dangerous place. The right to free speech is a good idea, but the way the issue will be handled concerns me.
- Why Free Speech is Sexy
Tech changes so fast that there is a perception that we are making change by aligning ourselves with like-minded people on social media. Users without the same level of a network, watch out. According to these beliefs, we similarly interpret our reality.
We often fight to keep our values at the forefront of many conversations. Twitter debates are often dominated by one side. The perception of Twitter is often that it is a town square.
It appears that the voices we hear on social media, as I have read on the weekend on Big Think, usually belong to only ten percent of users overall.
10% of people are dominating social media. What if the other 90% spoke up? – Big Think
This is an echo chamber. Those ten percent are the loudest, and deafen opposing points of view. In disputes between the right and the left, the Twitter algorithm favours the standpoint of the left.
That sounds like one smart algorithm, but it is sophisticated enough to understand the idea of the topic. Twitter may act differently if Musk purchases it, and rebrands Twitter in possibly undecided ways. That is why the drama with Musk and Twitter is so compelling.
With Twitter, they gave us something that we could access we didn’t have previously. This month’s word prompt is the word green. I started the year 2022 doing a daily blogging exercise called bloganuary, where, for as many days as I could in the month of January, I posted according to bloganuary prompts.
Presently, posts from the WordPress Tavern blog incorporate a month-to-month word brief. By the way, my Twitter handle is https://twitter.com/findingenvirons
Privacy is not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution as freedom of speech is in the First Amendment. Larry Flynt