According to our Constitution, we have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...with that last little tidbit carrying an importance that we don’t often give it credit for.
The idea is that Americans are allowed to do whatever they like in order to create a life for themselves in this nation, so long as it doesn’t harm anyone else or run afoul of any pre-existing laws. And, of course, since this right comes to us from the almighty Constitution, there isn’t a damned thing that legislators in Congress can do about it. The document supersedes whatever authority these public servants have attempted to carve out for themselves.
Don’t ever forget that. It will be important in the coming days.
And, when its comes being happy, as the Constitution instructs us to do, is social media a snug fitting puzzle piece, or a precariously perched coffee cup ready to ruin the entire tabletop project?
How often do any of us turn to social media for happy, go-lucky content? I bet the answer is nearly never. The same answer applies when we ask if our time on social media leaves us feeling more fulfilled or less? Do we have a cheerier outlook on life after seeing a constant stream of other people’s lives, drama, and disparity?
I don’t know about y’all, but I often feel filthy after scrolling through the non-stop mental excretions of Facebook and Twitter. Human beings love conflict, it’s what gets our endorphins pumping, and this natural inclination toward disagreement is allowed to happen with lessened consequence via the internet.
As disgraced comedian Louis C.K. once explained, he doesn’t allow his daughters to use social media because there are no karmic consequences to bullying online. You don’t have to watch a fellow human being’s eyes well up with anger when you call them “fat” or “ugly” online – only when done in person. In reality.
And, despite his shortcomings as a human being, Louis C.K. is right; there’s nothing stopping you from being an awful person who hides behinds distance or anonymity.
Facebook understands this basic human need for drama and conflict, and has been very careful to measure and throttle how much freedom they allow on their platform. They’ve been stifling the conversation by targeting American patriots and conservatives as well, knowing that the largely young liberal crowd that dominates their platform could easily be educated by any number of right wing thinkers or pundits. Facebook can’t allow that to happen, however, due to the fact that their user-base’s millennial minds are much simpler to manipulate and gather data from.
In an effort to weed out the patriotic thinkers on Facebook, the brand has employed devious tactics to undermine the Free Press in America, even going so far as to smear right wing news organizations any time their content is shared online.
Facebook is displaying a link to Wikipedia’s smear-job description of Breitbart News next to all Breitbart articles shared on the site. The linked Wikipedia article describes Breitbart as a “far-right site” that publishes “falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and intentionally misleading stories.”
The social network, which has been under pressure from Democrats and the mainstream media since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, has added a button marked “about this article” next to all posts linking to Breitbart News pieces on the site. Currently only viewable for American users, the button brings up a pop-up screen that displays Wikipedia’s misleading description of Breitbart News.
The description repeats several anti-Breitbart News obsessions popular in the corporate and left-wing media: that the site has “misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist content,” and a single throwaway comment from former Executive Chairman Steve Bannon describing the site as a “platform for the alt-right.” Breitbart News has consistently rejected the alt-right label, which has been applied to the site by the mainstream media.
By making this an algorithmic certainty, Facebook has implied that they are some sort of authority on the truth. It’s as though they’ve traveled to the land of free-thought and planted their big, blue flag in the middle of a bustling, diverse, sovereign society.
They are the gatekeepers of reality, at least according to their actions, and they don’t care what you think. They don’t care about freedom. They don’t care about the right to free speech.
All they care about is keeping you hooked on their product with drama and conflict, that way they can gather all sorts of invasive data about you and your habits to sell to advertisers.
Facebook doesn’t care about your pursuit of happiness. They are pursuing profits.
Facebook hates you, but they love your data.