The Trump presidency, you can say what you want about it… I won’t tip my hand as to how I feel, although I have an inkling that you will be able to tell by the end of the article. One thing is for sure, however, we are all more knowledgeable about our government and the way it functions now than we were four years ago. You really can’t argue that, although I’m sure Trump would try… just for fun.
If we’ve discovered anything in the last four years it’s that outrage is a really strong motivator for education. So many people were furious when he was elected that they took up arms to learn about how to undo this fatal mistake. This might be one of the most profound takeaways we will have from these past four years… which probably gives you a pretty good idea of how I feel about our current “leader”.
The most recent outrage was the executive order signed by President Trump, firing the first shot in the war against social media. This was a shot heard round the world because it begins to approach something that we have not really discussed as a human race and that is the policing of truth on social media.
The difficulty with the internet and social media is that anyone anywhere is able to contribute to the conversation, and proving they are correct is increasingly more difficult to do. When before, information was housed in a few well-documented places, this is no longer the case. We live in a reality where you can take a Solix hotspot and go to the middle of a forest, and still run a full business.
Although that seems irrelevant, it’s not. Anyone could tweet anything from anywhere and say it is true and that tweet is not accessible by anyone anywhere. Of course, if you are in the forest with no followers, nobody will see it, but if you are the president with millions of followers, literally everyone will see it. This gives the president the power to say anything he wants and there is no real way to determine if it’s true before it becomes news.
Social media companies have recently entered that battle as an arbiter of fact. While it is not their job to determine if something is true or not, they are a really large database of information, and thus fact-checking something in real-time would be something that not only are they equipped to do, but probably the most efficient at it.
As tensions began to boil over in America surrounding racial inequality, President Trump made some tweets that not only had the potential of misinforming the public but also had the ability to incite violence due to very aggressive rhetoric used in the tweet. Twitter, in response, put a tag on those tweets marking them as such and that’s when he got mad. Of, I understand the idea that it is not Twitter’s job to make those assumptions, it is their job to police their platform as they see fit, and stay vigilant about rhetoric that furthers a problem rather than resolving it.
Although this executive order that was signed didn’t REALLY do much for the policies surrounding social media and factual information, it is the first shot in a potentially long battle between political figures and the internet.