Spoilers and Social Media: Another Cause for Concern

Social media was developed as a tool to bring people together over commonalities, to provide ways for people of vastly different walks of life to converse and come together over shared interest and topics. Today that goal has been convoluted to the extreme, often bringing out the worse in people, even when it comes to things that should be bringing us together.

A great example of that is when it comes to movies. The recent release of the movie “Endgame” has prompted more threats and negative attention than it ever would have received before the advent of social media.

Most of this negative attention has been based around people potentially spoiling the movies for others. On my Facebook, I’ve seen multiple posts about it with one user writing, “I swear if anyone posts any endgame spoilers joking or not you will be blocked”. And yet another more extreme example, “If you see Endgame before other people, don’t spoil it. If you do, I’ll run you over with a Mack”. Chances are, if you’re still on Facebook you’ve seen a similar post come across your feed as well.

The problem is that somewhere along the line we’ve come to expect other users to conform their behaviors and actions on an optional social platform to suit our personal desires. You want to talk to someone else that watched the movie about what happened? Nope, not allowed. If you do there will be negative social consequences.

So, the exact reason that social media was developed in the first place, to bring people together to talk about a shared interest, is no longer a valid reason to use social media. Left unsaid is the fact that everyone always has the option to simply not get onto Facebook or Twitter if you don’t want to find something out.

Not only does it save you the worry of someone else “spoiling” the movie, multiple studies have shown that short term breaks from social media are good for your mental health. But as a society we are so hooked on our devices that no matter how much we don’t want to find out what happens, we are unable to put down the device that might tell us what happened.

So instead of taking personal responsibility for our own actions, we take to threating others for theirs. Next time just log off, maybe it’ll keep you from threating to run over somebody with a truck if they ruin the movie for you.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica: You’re Missing the Real Issue

Hacking

There are two groups of people that are upset by the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal rocking the world right now. There are those upset because they are just now realizing that they have no privacy on the internet, those that are upset that Facebook sold that information to a foreign individuals and governments to try and influence elections.

The former group’s outrage is based off their own ignorance. No, those posts you put on Facebook telling them they can’t use your information didn’t do anything. The fact that you thought it did would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic. You don’t get privacy on the internet, especially when you are using a free service. That’s not going to change, nor should it. It’s what allows services like Facebook to make money while offering a free service.  

The second groups concerns have more merit, but what is going unaddressed is the disturbing underlying reasons on why this is such a problem. No, I’m not talking about the overall plethora of groups that have probably been doing this long before the 2016 election. And no, I’m not talking about the fact that Facebook could have and should have done more to prevent this.

What I’m talking about is that sad fact that this might be an effective way to influence elections in the United States. The founding fathers knew that the republic that they had created was entirely dependent on a well-educated populace to be effective.

That well-educated populace would not be susceptible to such rudimentary tactics by foreign entities to influence our elections. With all the ways the people can access information today there is no reason for people to be swayed by biased or outright false ads on a social media platform. With the information available people can independently verify or determine where each candidate stands on each issue and be able to determine the truth behind any other claims being made.

But the sad fact is that a large portion of the country is unable or unwilling to do this. This leads to a large portion of the country voting in an election that they really don’t know much about.

And yes, the way that Facebook sells ads on their platform needs to be addressed. But unless we address the underlying issue that makes Americans so susceptible to attacks like this we can rest assured that Cambridge Analytica won’t be the last group to exploit it.