Like. Share. Kill.

by Volker Weber

Nigerian police say false information and incendiary images on Facebook have contributed to more than a dozen recent killings in Plateau State - an area already torn by ethnic violence. When BBC Africa Eye got in touch with Facebook, the company disabled the account of a man in the UK who was spreading misinformation to thousands in Nigeria. Facebook’s third-party fact-checking partners in Nigeria have committed just four full-time fact checkers to review false information, on a platform used by 24 million Nigerians.

Social media isn't only killing people. It's also killing society. It's a poison.

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Comments

is twitter "social media"? or something else?

Matthias Welling, 2018-11-13

I'm not quite sure, if it's the tool, which kills, or just mankind.

Nina Wittich, 2018-11-13

The same argument can be made for any weapon.

Volker Weber, 2018-11-13

Social media is a form of communication. It is neither a poison nor a weapon by designation. It can be misused, though, like many other tools that have improved our lives.

Kai Scharwacht, 2018-11-13

First of all:

It's the news, not social media.

There are sooo many "news" sites, blogs, and channels out there that spread inaccurate and/or incomplete and/or misinterpreted details. There are even more "political" commentator channels on YouTube that are really good in selling good and well-formed (half-)truth facts to "inspire" the peoples' thoughts and minds.

No, this is not a "Lügenpresse" comment. That would be too easy.

We all (those who are reading this post and this site) know that one source is not enough and that every detail and fact needs to be checked twice. Whatever the reason or topic is.

But today even news are like fast-food.
Easy to get, easy to consume, easy to digest. One thought and nothing more.

But that's not what I was intended to say.
The thing that came up in my mind on this was: Hamlet's BlackBerry - Building a Good Life in the Digital Age (on Amazon)

Such a nice read. Older but still so... applicable.

Tobias Falk, 2018-11-13

Like every tool in history, social media is a double-edged sword! There are too many people who doesn't have the education nor experience to exercise appropriate mental validation of the information bombarding them ;o( Many simply do not perceive what is real fake news, deceptions or just ramblings from a derailed president.


Uffe Sorensen, 2018-11-14

I've come to the realization that everything I read on the internet is meant to manipulate me. It's sad, but accepting that 'truth' allows me to read/watch from a different perspective.

I agree with others that it's certainly not social media that's the problem, it simply has the eyeballs to be the more popular platform to exploit.

Mike McPoyle, 2018-11-14

In the past I claimed myself, but recently, I tend to disagree, with the view that social media is just another form of communication, and the users are responsible for what they make out of it.

Several examples and documentations make me think that this topic is much more complex. I think there are "features" inherent to social media that make them especially prone to misuse and manipulation, it's a different quality than previous communication methods or simple news aggregators.

The algorithms that create filter bubbles are most likely not understood or questioned by the vast majority of people. Most users would simply accept what a feed presents to them as a representation of real life. There was a recent article (on mimika.at?) about a guy completely absorbed and might I say trapped in a world of fake (right wing) news. He would not get out of this mindset without external support.

The "social" in many communication forms tends to make users care less about validating information because it is shared from a "trusted" source. Examples are in the linked article, or stories of lynch mobs in India, triggered by information spread in WhatsApp groups.

Broadcast and noise generation is a massive issue which has been enabled by the technology and was not that prominent in previous communication methods. Generate a shit storm, create a heated debate about some (fake or not) stuff, and a few days later no-one will notice the correction or alternative facts.

I think that social media and the pattern it generates are just not comparable to previous communication like phone, SMS or email.

Martin Engel, 2018-11-14

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