Sunday, 9 July 2017


Back when the Internet became available to the public in a significant way back in the mid-1990s, Cyberutopians touted it as a platform which enabled unfettered freedom of speech and expression which would "liberate" mankind.

But now that the majority of people have access to Cyberspace, especially through Web 2.0 platforms such as social media sites, those with independent opinions are either bullied into submission or silence and if they hold out, are ostracised, as the article below, translated from the Chinese language newspaper the Oriental Daily points out.

Social Media is the populists’ paradise

Facebook and other social media is a social platform used by many people in this modern era. However, its popularity does not really reflects speech freedom. It is in fact a place easily infested with lies and the worst kind of populism.

If you only post at Facebook or other social media about food, pets, highlights of your life, or selfie, you would not know of any problem with the social media. But if you post some controversial topics such as political, social or religious   issues, you will face with the worst kind of populist bullies trying to silence all opposition voices.

In Malaysia, if you post any complaints against certain political parties, their members or blind supporters would swarm you with attack trying to force the suspension or closure of your Facebook account. If the Facebook management is unfair or dealt with it technically, which means they depend on the number of people reporting the complaint and thus directly suspend the user’s account, denying any opportunity for the user to make his or her defence. Or they just delete the post straightaway. Isn’t this an encroachment of freedom of speech?

In religion, there are people who accuse certain outsiders of interference into their religious affairs and want to stop such interference from encroaching into the interest of their followers. However, even how solid the evidence presented by others proving otherwise, their view, even how righteous it may be, would be silenced when they face the collective sanction of an organized group like this. This then allows absurdities to rule and people continue their bullying way on the social media to poison the ordinary people.

The social media helps the bullying power. It is a manifestation of human nature and it happens everywhere. In Taiwan political arena, some made criticism on Tsai Ing-wen and Democratic Progressive Party leaders. Because they hold a different view, they have been overwhelmingly sanctioned by organized groups and eventually caused their accounts to be suspended.

Debate will uncover the truth. But direct sanction takes no exception whether the targets are political or social activists or even media people. The Facebook sanctioning mechanism requires no proof. As long as you have enough people, you can turn a non-issue into an issue and use it as an excuse to suspend an account. They can even trace back record of old postings to find someone guilty.

No constraints on Admin

At the social media platform and forum, why is populist easily appears and suppress the views of the minority, or for a minority to silence the views of the majority?

President James Madison, father of the US Constitution, said in the “Federalist Papers” that without external constraints, any individual or group would tend to bully others. May I ask who supervise the Admin of the social media? And who restraints him? The answer is none! Any unfair action to silence others will not be dealt with fairly. Furthermore, the Admins tend to protect each other.

Although there is speech freedom in social media, it may not be a place that represents fairness. Even speech freedom can be treated differently. For sure, the emergence of a massive sanctioning group is due to the existence of malcontents with malice. They could not tolerate people with different views.

On the other hand, those with positive mindset will not press for sanction even if they had been humiliated. Or maybe they do not have resources to organize a sanction. Therefore, when the social media management system is faulty, it would result in the emergence of a fools’ paradise for the populists and eventually the good would be shooed off by the bad elements.

So much for the hype, hoohah, bullshit and ballyhoo of Cyberutopians.


No comments:

Post a Comment