Zuckerberg’s Box

Shockingly, last week a deranged man posted a cold-blooded murder that he committed on Facebook. Millions saw the post. Facebook waited 23 minutes before they took the post down.

Of course, it was shared on other social media, so the horror persisted on social media for quite some  time to titillate those who just can’t get enough of reality violence. How awful.

Facebook is the largest social media network in the world, and as many of us know who have been targeted and bullied (for whatever reason) by the Facebook mob, it’s a powerful tool both for good, for evil, and even, for censorship, when the mob doesn’t agree with an expressed opinion. It’s not only being used as a sharing mechanism; it’s being used as a gun which those who feel powerless can wield against their fellow humans, for better or worse.

It’s an incredibly strong tool that not only allows its users to share good news and fellowship; it also apparently allows an evil such as the senseless murder of a 74-year-old innocent by a madman, the bullying and subsequent self-harm to dozens of vulnerable human beings who pay way too much attention to what people think about them, via Facebook posts.

Facebook is responsible. But I wonder how the juggernaut intends to “police” every single post?

In theory and concept, Facebook and social media was supposed to connect us all, for good or ill. That it does. But what the creators of Facebook and other social media didn’t take into account Is human nature, can be, in my opinion, base and animal-like. Let’s face it: our society is held together by a thin veneer of civility and social convention.

Throw in the monkey wrench of, let’s say, a global pandemic, a widespread storm, a national catastrophe, a war, or even destruction of the electrical grid on which we depend tremendously, and I guarantee that you’ll see civility deteriorate pretty quickly.  Humans are animals, after all, and the drive to self preservation will quickly take over. It will be easily, the survival of the fittest. TO some extent, it’s almost already become that way on Facebook.

I’m sure that when Zuckerberg & Co. envisioned their social media, that Facebook was supposed to be used by well-meaning, level-headed humans. This is obviously pie-in-the-sky. It hasn’t ruend out that way. Social media has, in fact, connected us all more closely, but on the other hand, it’s spawned a generation of people who buy into it without even thinking about the ramifications. Fake news. Irresponsible posts. Bullying. So social media has to shoulder the responsibility for its abuse.

How will this be accomplished?

Is someone at Facebook creating ‘droids who, based on keywords and metadata, will be able to censor the crazies, the abuses? Who will monitor what’s offensive enough to be taken down. Will this constitute censorship of free speech? How can we tell what’s being posted is even true? What’s the absolute worst that humankind will be allowed to tolerate on social media? Cold-blooded murder that we can all “participate” in?

Facebook opened Pandora’s Box and now they have to determine a way to monitor human nature. Or can they? Will that be considered censorship? Thorny, philosophical and moral questions abound.

Who is going to set limits on Facebook? Figure that one out, Zuckerberg, while you grapple with the Pandora’s Box you let loose on the world. In my opinion, it’s extremely dangerous to give this much power to pander to humankind’s worst instincts to a company who’s in it for a profit.