When I came into this course I, as a film major, had assumed that media only encompassed social media and television/film. As the course went on my biggest take away was the full reach of the media and the internet. Through the use of the internet, media has become diluted, the use of social media and internet outlets have allowed massive amounts of misinformation to become available to the masses. Without a restricting or overarching body that can filter the false information there is no way to protect many people who would be susceptible to hate speech and the violence that would ensue. We see nowadays big companies have been sued and brought to court, yet they escape unscathed because of the first amendment. They facilitate these groups and allow them to go on unimpeded because they don’t want to lose profits from ads. They say that they want to uphold the first amendment to the loosest possible standard. But that amendment was created when there were maybe two media outlets, newspapers, and they could not mass produce their news like we can now. As times change, shouldn’t our laws change as well to keep up? We can no longer allow this hate speech and violence to be facilitated because these big companies don’t want to lose users or profits, lives and humanity is more important, but the people in charge do not see it that way.
Over the course of the last few years we have seen many heinous acts of violence and hate that have been exacerbated through the use of social media. For months Facebook told the public that they could not have influenced the 2016 election to then later say that 126 million Americans had received or viewed Russian politically charged advertisements. This is only one instance of social media influencing and affecting real world situations. In a CBS This Morning report, one of the anchors says, “Military personnel in Myanmar, used facebook as a tool for ethnic cleansing. This is not just spreading fake news.” (CBS This Morning, via Hasan Minhaj) These big tech companies all use the same excuse when defending themselves citing that “freedom of expression is one of our core values.” (Facebook Global Policy Management Head via Hasan Minhaj) These companies do not realize that there is a difference between freedom of expression/speech and speech that will lead to the discrimination, or even violence towards specific groups of people. The exact amendment deals with unlawful censorship, but unlawful refers to hate speech and abuse of others so protecting those who commit these heinous acts is basically corroborating in the murders of these people. This even goes back to last weeks article By Tim Wu who explains, “The First Amendment was brought to life in a period, the twentieth century, when the political speech environment was markedly differently than today’s. With respect to any given issue, speech was scarce, and limited to a few newspapers, pamphlets or magazines. The law was embedded, therefore, with the presumption that the greatest threat to free speech was direct punishment of speakers by government” (Tim Wu, p.1)
For more information on the Myanmar cleansing go to: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/un-thousands-rohingya-muslims-flee-myanmar-ethnic-cleansing-bangladesh/
The title of the chapter “The Myth of a Neutral Platform” refers to the idea of a platform that has no bias, no political agenda, and in some forms, unregulated as well. The reason this is a myth is because there is no possible way for the internet to be unbiased, because the people on that platform are biased and especially the people running the platform are biased. Gilespie says, “The more pressing worry about BBSs, website-hosting services, and ISPs was not that they would restrict speech on their own accord but that they could be obligated to impose restrictions on behalf of courts or governments, or pressured to impose them to avoid liability for the content they made available.” (Gilespie, p.27) There is no unbiased, unregulated platform because the people who run the platforms are liable and may face consequences for the things posted. For example what is happening with facebook after the 2016 elections and the ads that they let run to americans that changed the presidential race.
Wu talks about two major opposites in relation to the freedom of speech amendment, flooding vs. trolling, each has its own pitfalls. When one has a media presence in our society image is a huge part of that presence. That image must be maintained to maintain relevance, in our modern political situation, opponents will do whatever it takes to destroy that image and promote their own. These opponents take to creating attack ads that run and defame their rivals. Wu talks about this process on page 562, “An important variation of such defamation campaigns are discrediting campaigns—efforts to impugn not just the character of the target but its status as a source of reliable information.” Some cases take place between different parties vying for the same office, but others come from within parties when one is trying to get ahead of the other in the race. A great example of this and Wu’s comments comes from Joe Biden running an ad campaign against Peter Buttigieg, saying that Buttigieg would not be a good president because he has only been mayor of a “small” town.
These ads serve only to destroy the image that the person it is attacking is an unreliable source for information and unable to hold that office. In relation to Wu and flooding, we need only look at the reported cases of COVID-19 in China, while America and other major world powers have been very open about the amount of cases in each country, China has been reporting 0 new cases for the first time in a 24hr period. This has surfaced on many websites but the way each has described what it means depends on the outlet, on Supchina.com they praise the chinese government saying that this is a milestone in the way that the chinese government has responded to the pandemic. But comments from major editors say that these numbers are merely there for you to take them as the government wants them to be taken.
it is not letting me post the link to the Supchina article, but I will email it to you.
The argument that R. Williams makes that advertisement creators must acknowledge the criticisms of advertisements in order to make a credible and successful advertisement is accurate. If one does not acknowledge these criticisms the advertisement will fall flat when thrown into the cesspool of advertisements. There are so many that without the proper knowledge and willingness to look at it from both sides the advertisement will not succeed. Just as the quote in the prompt states that in order to make a sophisticated add one must acknowledge the criticisms. The people who created the Milk advertisement did not need to make it complex, their slogan “Got Milk” has become infamous in its simplicity. I.e
Marketing for two separate topics, food and fitness, these advertisements catch the viewer’s attention with the athlete then the focus moves to the little paragraph each has written. These advertisements tie into what R. Williams was saying with, “Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused , it is therefore necessary to gain attention by magnificence of promises and by eloquence sometimes sublime and sometimes pathetick.” (p.323) Giving the magnificence of promises with the image of the naked athlete, promoting health and welness and “ eloquence by sometimes pathetick” with the paragraph that promotes the product and the healthy lifestyle that the individual has chosen to live by, focusing on the drink as the basis for that lifestyle.
As the coronavirus grew from a far-away crisis to a worldwide pandemic, we were able to see the way media truly affects our world. The view I had on media a month ago was that it was a big – but not dominant – part of our lives, but now it is the only thing in our lives. As COVID-19 shut down most of the world, we are forced to shelter in place, and sanitize and clean everything. Without the face-to-face interactions that offset the need for media, we are forced to focus on media for our interactions: a quote from “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life” says, “When I ask teenagers why they joined MySpace, the answer is simple: ‘Cuz that’s where my friends are.’” (Boyd p. 9) Though this comes from 2002, the principle stays the same: we are now more reliant on media than ever before because the virus has wiped out day-to-day and face-to-face interactions. We as a society have strived to make the media we use during this period more personable, but nothing can replace the in-person interactions. The effect of solely media-based interactions can have on a generation is staggering, and especially to a generation that has had more mental health problems than any generation before it (based on an article published by the American Psychological Association) on top of the economical and societal effects. As a generation who depends on the help of friends to get them through tough times, being quarantined with possibly oppressive or overbearing parents, with only being able to call or facetime friends, does not have the same effect.
Bethune, S. (2019, January). Gen Z more likely to report mental health concerns. Monitor on Psychology, 50(1). http://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/01/gen-z
Boyd, Danah. (2007) “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics
in Teenage Social Life.” MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Learning – Youth, Identity, and Digital
Media Volume (ed. David Buckingham). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.