“It’s the times we’re living in,” the clichéd excuse goes. “It’s scary. We need to wake up and be prepared.”
So says a mom at California’s Emery High School.
Her kid had an unplanned day off this week. Somebody playing a game (yes, a real game) in Switzerland emailed a threat to a school district halfway across the globe.
The “player” earned points for his move – the ultimate goal being to see who can close the most schools – and our culture slumped a notch lower.
It’s the times we’re living in, they say.
Sad, isn’t it?
Sorry… It’s a Bad Connection
Our culture is more connected than previous generations could have ever imagined… and yet all hell is breaking loose.
The way we see it, the internet has gone from the 21st century’s most promising prize to its biggest threat.
Everywhere we look, we see trouble.
Zuckerberg got dragged into Washington this week. Explain yourself, the congressmen said as they secretly wondered how they could eke more votes out of Facebook users.
Tell us how you’ll prevent this again, they demanded, as they poked and prodded for a loophole that would help them get re-elected.
Zuckerberg read his prepared remarks and then, we can only guess, slid his business card under the table. “You get the money,” its tagline reads, “we’ll get the data.”
Meanwhile, some middle-aged white guy got caught making his living by running a fake Black Lives Matter page on Facebook. With 700,000 followers, he had twice as many fans as the real group’s page.
He also pulled in six figures’ worth of “donations.”
Zuckerberg didn’t mind.
CNN, though, tells us similar pages are run by Russia.
Of course they are.
The Russians apparently think they can hack away at our democracy by stirring anger and hate. At first we doubted their motive and their tactic. But it sure seems like they’re onto something.
After all, a state senator from California just introduced a bill that would limit free speech on the web.
If Richard Pan’s legislation ever sees the light of the law, any social media site with a physical presence in California (i.e., all of them) would have to go through state-approved fact checkers before it could post content online.
Straight from S.B. 1424:
This bill would require any person who operates a social media, as defined, Internet Web site with a physical presence in California to develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Web site. The bill would require the plan to include, among other things, a plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories, the utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories, providing outreach to social media users, and placing a warning on a news story containing false information.
Poor Facebook… poor, poor Twitter.
But wait, what about America? What about our beloved Constitution?
The web, it appears, just may be the death of it.
Russia for the win.
We don’t think the law has any chance of progressing. Even California isn’t that, well, progressive.
But we beg readers to pay attention.
Our Liberty is on the line. Our Connections are under attack.
To even discuss the idea of censoring content proves just how far the morality of our lawmakers has eroded in recent generations. And for them to go as far as packing such rogue and dangerous ideas into a proposed law shows us a bit of the treacherous road ahead.
If Americans think the Constitution is written in stone, we beg to see that rock.
Last we saw it, it was penned on a tattered and fading piece of parchment. With one swift movement, it could be torn apart and tossed aside.
The idea should be taught in our schools… but then again, many of them are closed today.
Oh, the scary times we live in.