Social media companies, whose base of operations are on the Left Coast and operated by staff who are almost universally left wing, are squeezing conservatives. There have been some pretty glaring examples of bias, specifically the whole notion being accounts being suspended on Twitter for entirely arbitrary reasons. Yes, Facebook banned Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam for his long history of bigoted remarks, like calling Jewish people termites, but his account wasn’t suspended on Twitter. Oh, and even without using examples of bias, Twitter itself admits that the environment is so left wing that conservative employees cannot speak up without fear. Still, while the tech giants of Silicon Valley are very, very…veryliberal, they still like making money. Hence, why Facebook has dedicated staffs to serve its conservative and liberal clientele. Despite conservatives being cracked down harder than liberal users, Twitter still knows that they need Right America to stay engaged on their platform.
Whether we like it or not, social media is where business, political, and cultural news spread and intersect. Many have called it a cancer on society. They may be right, but they’re here to stay for now—and debates circling the issues that we face as a nation are shared on these platforms. Still, that doesn’t mean that some on the Hill view the ever-increasing power of social media companies as a problem. There has been talk about regulating these companies, breaking them up, or doing away with them altogether. One Republican Senator, Josh Hawley (R-MO), says that these companies have done more harm than good, that they’re dabbling in the “addiction economy,” and that they should more or less be eradicated. Hawley made these claims in an op-ed for USA Today last week. Vice added the impact social media is still in its infancy, but added that the basis for Hawley’s criticism of the social media giants isn’t without merit. Making them go away probably isn’t realistic, but breaking them up could be an option (via Vice):
A Republican senator who works on antitrust says that social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, have done more harm than good and they should “disappear.”
“Social media’s innovations do our country more harm than good. Maybe social media is best understood as a parasite on productive investment, on meaningful relationships, on a healthy society,” he wrote. “Maybe we’d be better off if Facebook disappeared.”
Some lawmakers asked Zuckerberg why Facebook shouldn’t be broken up, but, for the most part, Zuckerberg has gotten off easy by pitching himself as living the quintessential American dream: From humble beginnings in a Harvard dorm room, a college dropout made an all-American company that has connected the world and created many thousands of high-paying jobs.
Hawley called out those lofty claims in his op-ed: “Ask the social giants what it is they produce for America and you’ll hear grand statements about human interaction,” he wrote. But “Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—they devote massive amounts of money and the best years of some of the nation’s brightest minds to developing new schemes to hijack their users’ neural circuitry.
“High salaries and stock options have encouraged a generation of our brightest engineers to enter a field of little productive value. This is, to put it mildly, an opportunity missed for the nation,” Hawley wrote. “What marvels might these bright minds have produced had they been oriented toward the common good?”
Hawley’s argument is persuasive, but there is, of course, no way to magically make social media disappear. Considering that he’s on the subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy, and consumer rights, breaking the social media giants up might be the next best choice.
What say you?