The Case for Greater Transparency for Social Media Platform Businesses
In the lead-up to Election 2020, amidst a global pandemic, our attention was focused on disinformation and a goal of this website was to provide basic social media and disinformation literacy. During 2020, more of us spent more hours in front of computer screens than ever before. The hunger for information about the pandemic and the upcoming election made us all more vulnerable to disinformation. We were consuming more and there was more at stake. Thankfully, there were also many more at work on uncovering, debunking and educating media consumers. You will find a list of trusted “disinformation detectives” listed in our resources. Unlike 2016, researchers and journalists were debunking disinformation at a similar pace as it was produced. Mainstream media was exposing disinformation much more and amplifying it less.
Disinformation still exerted its toxic force, this time in an amplified “Stop the Steal” campaign. Drawing from old, racist narratives, “Stop the Steal” was an intentional, disruptive disinformation campaign amplified by Steve Bannon. Groups such as Women for America First used this as a battle cry, which led to the violent storming of the US Capitol on January 6. And it continues to be felt as “Stop the Steal” is used as a justification for imposing voter suppression laws. While its roots are old, “Stop the Steal” was revived in 2020 via social media platforms, which continue to operate by their own rules.
With a new administration in place and real sense of urgency about social media in the halls of Congress, we are turning our attention to addressing social media. Our society has never been more polarized, all of us, including children and teens are spending increasing hours on computers and smart phones, and the social media algorithms keep getting smarter. As a community of concerned people, we need to focus on the creation of meaningful, future-facing legislation and policy. As constituents, we need to sound the alarms. Congress must deal with this. #BigTechIsBroken. These disinformation-focused resources will remain and we will continue to explore this issue.
It’s time to address the root causes. Please join us in educating ourselves and our communities — www.bigtechisbroken.org.
We need to sound the alarms. #BigTechIsBroken