Discussion #1

1.) “Should Facebook and Twitter Be Regulated Under The First Amendment” was published on Wired magazine’s Oct. 11, 2017 by Lincoln Caplan, a Yale legal scholar and author. Then as now, the discussion about foreign interference in the 2016 elections, the proliferation of “fake news,” targeted misinformation against specific demographic groups continue. Answer the following questions and be prepared to discuss in class.
A.) Does social media really influence people’s opinions? How so? Or not.
B.) Does the current media environment just reinforce a person’s point-of-view? How so? Or not?
C.) Is it possible to control what is said online? How would you regulate it? Or how would you improve the current environment?

Part A 

Social media absolutely influences people’s opinions. In today’s social media landscape, people often confuse opinion with fact. Just because someone puts something on Twitter, does not mean that it’s fact. People don’t do research on what they see, so they don’t even know if what they’re retweeting is true or false.

Part B

People want to find what they consider “facts” to support what they already believe — they’re not looking for something that refutes what they already perceive to be true. People tend to make friends with people who have the same views as them because no one wants to argue all the time. People do the same thing when following others on social media — they find people who will agree with them.

Part C

You can control what is said online in certain spaces, like forums. But there’s no way to control EVERYTHING that’s said — no without treading dangerous waters in regards to the First Amendment. I think people should take improving the social environment into their own hands. People need to get all of the facts before they spread information that they’re not 100 percent sure about. Knowledge is the only thing that will help improve the media landscape in the “fake news” era.

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