Tag Archives: social media

Where is the Line Between Freedom of Speech and Incitement?

Freedom of speech is one of the core building blocks of the United States as a whole. But it is also equally simple and complicated. In simple terms, freedom of speech says that we do not have to fear either being jailed or killed for just speaking our minds. It gets complicated when it comes to hate speech and incitement. Yelling fire in a crowded movie theater theoretically, could go either way.

The backlash against the riot in Washington D.C. last Wednesday has been swift and furious. Once more, you know who is facing impeachment. He has been banned from most, if not all of the major social media companies. The website Parler, known to attract members of the conservative and alt-right movements, has been shut down entirely.

Is you know who to blame for last Wednesday? Without a doubt. It was his words that encouraged the near destruction of the Capitol Building. That being said, the blame does not entirely fall on him. The blame is on the social media companies. They have been making up their own rules for years, allowing extremists of all sorts to use their platforms to spread their lies and attract new members.

While freedom of speech is immutable, what is not immutable is the actions of the big tech companies. The ball is in their court. They can either proceed as if nothing has happened. Or, they can face up to their part in this mess and help to clean it up. The choice is theirs.

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Filed under National News, Politics

Rude: Stop Being Nice and Start Being Bold Book Review

From an early age, one of the first lessons we are taught are manners. Though some of the rules that fall within manners are cut and dry, others are not quite as clear.

Rude: Stop Being Nice and Start Being Bold, by Rebecca Reid, was published last month. The spark that was the impetus for this book came from personal experience. Reid, a journalist and a comedian from the UK, was a guest on a TV show. After being talked over several times by a male comedian, she spoke up. Instantly labelled “Rebecca Rude” by social media, she could have easily given into the criticism. Instead, she saw it as an opportunity to harness the concept of “rudeness” into a positive thing.

Using examples within the world of popular culture and several prominent women wo were given the label of “being rude”, Reid points out how it is not entirely a bad thing. In speaking up for their individual needs, these women stood up for what they wanted and needed. She also points out that while men are allowed and applauded for being aggressive and speaking their minds, women are given all sorts of nasty labels for acting in a similar manner.

Part feminist mantra and part self help book, this is the perfect way to overcome our personal and cultural prejudice against women who are act and speak as men do. Reid also encourages her readers to fight for their dreams and not be afraid to stand up for what they need to see their dreams become a reality.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, Television

The Social Dilemma Review

When social media was created, the purpose of the new medium was innocent enough. It was to serve as a tool to bring people and ideas together in an open forum. But something changed along the way, and not for the better.

The docu-drama, The Social Dilemma premiered earlier this year on Netflix. The movie explores how social media, in spite of its innocuous surface presentation, has a dark underbelly. Combining interviews with experts, former tech employees, and a fictional story about one family, the film explores how social media has had an impact on our mental health, politics, and other aspects of our collective world.

Watching this film was a wakeup call. Social media is such a part of our everyday life that we don’t think twice about the side effects. What impressed me was the choice to interview people who had been at the forefront of the companies who created and own the social media platforms. Having an insiders perspective created a gut punch that would not have otherwise existed.

If there was one thing I enjoyed about this film was the solution to all of these problems. It would have been easy for the filmmakers to act as a nagging parent or teacher, telling us to get immediately close our social media accounts. Instead, they present a plan that allows for these companies to stay open while preventing future damage to our culture and our world.

I can’t say that this movie has convinced me to stop using social media. But it made me think twice about how I use my accounts.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Social Dilemma is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Filed under Mental Health, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix, Politics

The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War Book Review

Books are more than words on a page. They can educate, inspire, and provide hope in a time when all seems lost.

The Syrian Civil War will be a decade old next year. As of 2015, 3.8 million Syrians found refuge outside of their home country. 380,000 souls have been lost since 2011. Once thriving cities and towns have been destroyed beyond recognition. And yet, those who stayed found light and life via books.

The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War was published last month. Written by Delphine Minoui and translated by Lara Vergnaud, the book follows the conversations Minoui had with a group of resistance fighters who kept a secret library in Daraya during the war. As government forces pounded the city, these young men came upon a small library. Within a month, they created a sanctuary that contained 15,000 books. Containing literature of every genre and subject, they found a brief respite from the destruction that was their new normal. Speaking to journalist Delphine Minoui via social media, they told the story of survival, hope, and faith.

I found the concept to be compelling. Beyond my love of books, I was drawn to the idea that the medium is able to give us something to hold onto when all seems lost. The problem is that the story does not live up to the hype it creates.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, International News, World News

Wishing You Know Who’s Death From Covid-19 Goes Too Far

On Friday, when various news outlets reported that you know who contracted Covid-19, the responses to the headline varied.

But there was one reaction that went too far, at least from my perspective. There were some on social media (Twitter to be specific), who wished that he would join the over 200,000 American who have already died from the virus.

Does he deserve to hear “told you so”? Absolutely.

But would I actively wish him dead from the virus? No.

The problem with these statements (especially from the left) is that they perpetuate the myth that you know who has been complaining about. Now whether or not he is believed depends on the individual. However, as tempting as it is to make such a statement, I believe that restraint is necessary.

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Filed under National News, Politics

Kyle Rittenhouse is Everything That is Wrong with America

In 2020, we may believe that we have come a long way. Women and minorities are no longer second class citizens. True equality is not yet achieved, but we are on the way.

Then a kid with an AR-15 shoots into a crowd protesting against police violence. Two people were killed and one was injured.

The kid’s name is Kyle Rittenhouse. Somehow, he was able to get his hands on one of the deadliest weapons one can use. Instead of arresting him, local police defended him. Upon further research, it was discovered that his now deleted social media accounts history were chock full of white supremacy related information.

This kid is everything that is wrong with America. A white person (i.e. male) shoots into a crowd with an AR-15 who has extreme right views is given a free pass to get away with whatever he wishes to. But an innocent black man like Jacob Blake is shot in the back point blank by white police officers. According to news reports from earlier today, Mr. Blake is paralyzed.

We need to do better. We must do better. If we don’t, our children and grandchildren will continue on the same hamster wheel that we are on now.

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TikTok Users Remembering the Holocaust get an A for Effort

Most people know something about the Holocaust. It is one of the most well known events in recent history.

On TikTok, some users have released videos pretending to be victims of the Holocaust. Known as “trauma porn”, the response is outrage and disgust. The young people who are producing these videos claim that they are using this form of social media to educate their followers about the Holocaust and the murder of six million Jews.

If nothing else, these kids get an A for effort. Teaching the Holocaust is not easy, regardless of the age of the student. With the rise of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, it has become more important than ever that the lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten.

But I wish they had been a little more sensitive in their portrayal of the victims. The response would have certainly, I think, been more appreciative instead of critical.

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The Ultimate Social Media Hypocrisy: Iran, Twitter, & Israel

When the Internet and social media took off decades ago, they both seemed to be a beacon of freedom of speech and communication. We would speak to and (virtually) meet people who we might otherwise not meet and become a better world.

But while the technology has changed, the world has not.

While the social media giants claim that they are all for freedom of expression, they continue to ignore the elephant in the room. That elephant is racism and antisemitism that continually flows from various tweets and posts.

Twitter, while claiming that hate speech is not allowed on the platform, does not prevent Iranian officials from threatening Israel with annihilation via tweets.

I wish it was easy to remove ourselves from social media. But, they are so much of a part of lives that to do so would be akin to cutting off a limb. The only solution is that the people who run the social media platforms follow through on their terms of service. The question is, will they?

Probably not.

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Filed under International News, World News

Thoughts On the Boycott of Instagram & Twitter

Antisemitism is a disease. How does one route out a disease from one’s body? You hit with medicine. In this case, the medicine is truth and the power of the average person.

In response to the antisemitic posts appearing on Twitter and Instagram, a boycott has been called on both platforms for 48 hours starting this morning.

There is a distinct line between freedom of speech and spewing hate. Until the people who run the social media world realize this and follow the rules they created, they will be as guilty as the ones who spew racist and antisemitic lies.

I know that this boycott will be difficult. But if we do not move forward with the boycott, the message that racism and antisemitism is acceptable will continue it’s destructive grasp on this world.

#NoSafeSpaceForJewHate

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