Being from the U.S. and as the ideals from my home country have spread across the world, one of the biggest ones is the First Amendment a.k.a. Freedom of Speech. Having the spotlight shine on the U.S. for the last month and a half because of the presidential election also brought out a lot more people using the term “fake news”.
What I mean by “fake news” is, social media platforms, mainly Twitter and Facebook, made users aware of information and/or articles posted that contained questionable or completely false information by either putting a tag with it; or in some instances hiding the information completely so it could not be shared. This included having posts by the current resident of the White House having such tags on his tweets.
Once the election showed favor for Biden/Harris I noticed some of my Facebook friends posting an event they were interested in as well as some memes to mock the event. I had never heard of Parler until I saw these types of posts. The company was established in 2018 so it is still relatively new compared to the other sites.
Being I am the type of person who will research something to understand it better I Googled “leaving Facebook for Parler” and 3,970,000 results came up. From what I saw on the posts from people who said they were leaving to join Parler, along with most of the articles that came up in the top search results, it appears Parler is for mainly Republicans/Conservatives. The reasoning seems to be they feel they are being targeted more than any other political group and are being censored. However, from all the articles I have read there does not appear to be anyone group that is being specifically targeted. The reasoning Facebook and Twitter are adding these so-called censorship tags, is to stop false information from spreading. The other policy standards that appear across all of the social media platforms, including Parler, are criminal activity, terrorism, child pornography, copyright violations, fraud, a call for violence and spam posts will be taken down. The difference between Parler and the other social media platforms seems to be Parler is okay with sharing false articles such as drinking bleach to kill Covid. According to a Washington Post article, Parler’s content moderators are a couple hundred volunteers while Facebook has hired thousands of people to monitor content.
The “common sense” part of me says, yes there is freedom of speech however it does not mean freedom of consequences. Those consequences can be something as simple as having your account suspended for a period of time to losing your job depending on the degree of the violation. In my experience, people in the U.S. tend to forget that. To me, freedom of speech means I can say I think the President is not the brightest crayon in the box knowing I will not be arrested and put in jail for saying that. However, I do understand that can cause other people to get mad at me and report me to the social media monitors with the hopes in having my account suspended. I must stress I understand that this thinking generally applies to the U.S. and does not carry across to another country that has a Freedom of Speech policy because each country has different views on what Freedom of Speech is.
In conclusion, I say use social media for what it was intended for: sharing funny videos of pets, uploading awesome pictures taken with friends or from traveling and connecting with new and long lost friends 🙂