Over the past two decades, social media has emerged as a core component of our daily lives. At first, social media was simply an online medium for social interaction. However, with time social media platforms have evolved and are used for very many activities and purposes. The number of users on various social media platforms has dramatically increased. In 2017, the number of people using social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram was 22.69 million (Statista, 2018). Due to the increased number of users, I feel the Canadian government should be actively involved in regulating the running and use of social media. The government should perform a supervisory role that is more proactive than the reactive or hands-off approach it now takes. Therefore, in the following post, I will highlight why the government should regulate the use of social due to security concerns, business regulation and children protection despite the public contrary opinion that it should not be involved because of privacy infringement.
I believe that social media should be regulated because it covers a huge aspect of our lives. In the early days of social media, it was mostly used as a place to meet people and interact. However, with time, tech giants like Facebook and Google realized that they had created an audience (Arnold, 2018). They could sell the audience to people who had products and services. As a result, social media become a hub for business and corporate world. Google and Facebook respectively developed AdSense and Facebook Advertisement platforms that allowed companies to purchase ads that could be contextually delivered to users based on the content they searched for or the things they read about and liked on Facebook (Arnold, 2018). Other social media sites also followed suit.. Social media platforms added payment features on the websites. People can buy and sell goods on social media. These advancements produce positive and negative effects. There are legit business people that will provide their services. However, there are also con artists who try to trick the people. It is the perfect playground for people who engage in credit card fraud and other kinds of fraud (Arnold, 2018). With all of these factors in play, the government in collaboration with the social media sites will ensure that the people in that platform operate within set rules to prevent people from fraud or taking advantage of others.
Additionally, people post a lot of information online about themselves. The data can be easily accessed and used by social media companies for market research, understand culture and opinions (Arnold, 2018). However, there is also a chance that the information may fall in the hands of the wrong people. The individual may sense a line of weakness or vulnerability (Smith and Anderson, 2018). In my opinion, terrorists, just like ‘pundits, partisans and government may weaponize information to exploit people ethnic, regional, mentality and gender difference to how they prefer (Borel, 2018). They can therefore, use social media for radicalization and recruiting people into gang memberships. I realized that social media has features that allow like-minded people to meet through Facebook pages, groups, links and use hashtags. It will allow evil like-minded people, terrorist, drug traffickers to influence the other people they have met online (Cummings, 2018)
Regulation of social media is in the public interest even though most of them may not know it. Just like the USA, Canada also faces threats of terrorist attacks. Some of the terrorists use social media to mobilize people and recruit their members or push their destructive agendas. “Recently, the Turkish government was able to recover and delete more than 200 Facebook accounts that they believed were affiliated with terrorists:” according to Sheera Frenkel’s article on New York Times, 2018. For security purposes, social media must be regulated and for the safety of Canadian people. On the other hand, most people are
In my opinion, social media cannot be left to rage like wildfire, it ought to be regulated for the sake of the children. Social media must be regulated just like alcohol and drug abuse. Most children in Canada today, have access to social media and are active users. It has allowed the children to exponentially expand their social lives and keep with friends or even help each other with assignments. However, a danger is looming, if it is not tamed, it could prove catastrophic to the young millennials (Smith and Anderson, 2018). One thing is that they are overly addicted to social media. The first thing they do after waking up is checking on their social media. As a result, they neglect most of their other responsibilities. However, the main point for advocating for government intervention and regulation. is that children are exposed to inappropriate content. Children may be recruited to crime gangs or will see content like pornography that is not healthy for their upbringing. The government should, therefore, conduct content auditing and policy making that will prevent such content getting to children. Additionally, the children are also prone to cyberbullying. The cyberbullies target children as they can blackmail them, coerce and manipulate them. It is important to note that the government cybersecurity is still struggling to keep up with the technological advancements. Therefore, the government can outsource the securities to the social media platform providers.
The country is still torn apart between those who believe that the government needs to regulate social media and those that believe it is not necessary. However, I believe that refusing to have government regulate social media on grounds of infringing on privacy is not an adequate reason given what is at stake if the government does not. For instance, the terrorist may work freely by using social media to plan attacks. Additionally, criminals may use social as media for fraud and criminal activities. Most of all, the children will be marked targets for cyber bullies. Due to all these reasons, I believe that the government and the public should support the social media regulation proposals.
Arnold A., (2018). Do We Really Need to Start Regulating Social Media? Forbes Magazine
Borel. Brooke., (2018) Can AI Solve the Internets Fake News Problem? A fact Checker Investigates. Popular Science
Cummings. B., (2018). The Pros and Cons of Regulating Social Media Influencing. The Entrepreneur Network. Times.
Frenkel. S., (2018). Facebook Says It Deleted 865 Million Posts, Mostly Spam. New York
Statista. (2018) Social Networking in Canada- Statistics and Facts https://www.statista.com/topics/2729/social-networking-in-canada/
Smith. A., and Anderson M., (2018). Social Media Use in 2018. Pew Research Center Internet and Technology