The Internet changed the world – providing access to a trove of information and linking people from around the globe. The advent of smartphones and tablets further solidified the internet’s hold on the human race – making it an integral part of the dialogue and becoming the most massive platform of speech.
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The Birth of the Biggest Platform
Close to half of the world’s 7.8 billion people are connected to the internet in one form or another. Social media counts 3.6 billion subscribers in various platforms that span over every major city of every country. Online platforms are reaching places where radio, television, and print are scarce or unavailable, which is marketing for social media makes good business sense for companies.
People are spending more and more time on their phones – with Americans spending more than 5 hours glued to their screens all day. The massive information contained in social media platforms dwarfs all forms of media combined. The face of information has changed and the internet has won. Viewership in television and radio news programs are down throughout the globe. Print media was hit the hardest – with most companies switching to online subscriber models to sustain their businesses. The internet and social media are now the biggest sources of information, news, and ideas on the planet.
Social media has become essential in almost every facet of society. Large amounts of information are at your fingertips wherever you are, and a single upload can reach millions.
Influencers like The Small Business Blog grow their brand through their popularity and corporations launch massive ad campaigns that target specific niches through social media. In New York, Los Angeles, and Texas – a successful media marketing campaign can make or break a company. Lobby groups are throwing the weight of their influence – putting pressure on corporations to do better.
Clashes of ideas are spilling into the real world – involving a larger base than could be reached by any other media. Social media has become a driving force that influences society at an emotional level – but this influence has consequences.
In the Hands of Big Tech
The most influential social media platforms in the US – namely Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube (to an extent) are owned by large corporations. Section 230 protects these companies – maintaining that they are mere platforms and not publishers of the content uploaded into them. As such, they are not held liable for any damage one of their users might cause.
However, these platforms have taken it upon them to regulate, control, or outright censor content that they deem unfit for publication. These platforms are notorious for their censorship – oftentimes doing so without the knowledge of the affected individual. Even YouTube’s biggest star, Felix Kjellberg or Pewdiepie, recently got shadowbanned by the platform – limiting access to his content without warning.
Although censorship mostly affects conservative and right-wing groups, the progression of the censorial environment is slowly affecting even the more progressive individuals. These tech giants are accountable to no one, and they are censoring whoever and whatever they want with impunity.
Like it or not, social media is already an integral part of society as you know it. However, big tech corporations have full control of these platforms – and they are wielding undue influence by controlling what you can or cannot see.