Jon Simonds 

Social Media Mess

Editor's Note: The Real Facebook Oversight Board has been formed because Mark Zuckerberg's oversight board is not yet operational, and there needs to be some oversight going on right away - before the election. And afterwards too. How do we solve the problem of voter supression, misinformation, personal data abuse, and the inciting of violence that can happen on Facebook?

The RFOB is a group of about 25 experts from academia, civil rights, politics and journalism. It's a project developed by The Citizens, an advocacy group founded by journalist Carole Cadwalladr, whose investigation into Facebook's data sharing practices broke the story on Cambridge Analytica.

Their recent breathtaking, information-packed press conference thoroughly conveyed the urgency we face and the solutions at hand. It also inspired brilliant new insights and ideas from Jon Simonds on this vast and crucial subject:

Social Media, as well as the very Internet itself, poses the biggest threat to America's democracy for its incredible ability to reach a receptive audience, targeted by data collected on every user of the worldwide web through algorithm. It has been said Facebook knows its user better than said user.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees us freedom of the press, however, the laws governing the U.S. limits the freedoms of those in the press or, as America progressed technically, the groups recognized as media outlets: print, radio and television. You don't need to be told you cannot present an allegation, or a story, without facts to back it up. This is obviously something totally lost on the American public, with no better illustration than the PizzaGate scandal, paving the way to the 2016 election. This needs to change.

The first and perhaps simpler step should begin in middle school right through high school graduation. Students need to be educated in the laws of liability and the limits on the Constitutional protection of both free speech and freedom of the press.

The second step is to somehow bring together the House and Senate to pass legislation naming the Internet as a source of Public Media and issuing a programmer's nightmare rule. As all government agencies end in .gov, all legitimately recognized media outlets should end in .com; .unproven for sites engaged in promoting conspiracy content with a fact based pop-up sidebar, .dating for dating sites, .music, .shopping and so on.

The internet is important to me - but there are no rules governing a forum drawing more participant viewers than newspapers, radio and television combined. They need to fall under the same rules. The power of the False-Narratives is evident in its feeding of a pandemic, its division of a nation, and its use in politics. If we don't do something to stop it, it will accomplish what no foreign enemy of this country has ever been able to do.

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Imagine you are standing at the counter of Best Buy, favorite disc in one hand, $100 dollar bill in the other. You hand the disc to the cashier. He rings it up and it's an even $25 bucks. You hand him your $100 dollar bill. Cha-Ching. The cash drawer opens. He bags your product, hands it to you along with your change: three five dollar bills.

You look at him and say, "I gave you $100 dollars."

He says. "I know."

You point to the three fives. "But that's only three fives. $15 dollars."

"I beg your pardon,"he says. "That's $75 dollars."

You look down at the three bills with Lincoln looking back at you and then at the guy standing behind you. He wants to know why you’re holding up the line. "Pick up your $75 bucks go home and enjoy your movie."

You start to get scared. You ask for a manager who comes along and doesn’t understand what the problem since he insists the three fives sitting on the counter is your $75 bucks change.

You're aching for Alan Fudd and the entire Candid Camera group to jump up and yell, "Smile!" but it doesn't happen and then the manager urges you to leave before he calls a cop. So you grab your $15 dollars, go back into the store and purchase a $75 dollar set of headphones. The cashier picks it up, rings it up (for $75 bucks), takes your three fives and sends you on your way.

Hence the problem with Social Media. The earth is flat. There is a child sex ring being run out of a pizzeria in Washington by Hilary Clinton and the Deep State and they are celebrating their fortunes with cannibal feasts.

The volume of disinformation being propagated by Facebook is unlawful by mass media outlets otherwise known as print, radio and television. And while Facebook is not alone in making fiction fact and fact fiction, it is the largest platform the world has ever seen. It is a mass media forum and its owner is making a mass fortune, ignoring the rules of mass media. It doesn’t care about its employees or its country. If elected officials won't see fit to regulate the internet as it regulates responsible journalism then its time to completely delete your Facebook account because the more people who abandon Facebook, the less revenue Facebook will generate and only then will Mr. Z address the hate forums and disinformation he allows, because the fact of losing money is a fact he could never deny.

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Jon's previous stories:

You Can't Always Get Want You Want
Old Friends
Dear Mr. President
Are You an American?