CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- Some people believe the lack of social media regulation is what led to Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol.
Hashtags like, “#StormtheCapitol,” which has since been banned on Facebook, helped attract people to the cause.
Heather Freeman, UNC Charlotte Professor of Art (Digital Media) explains misinformation and disinformation spread on social media fuel these types of acts.
She said algorithms on platforms such as YouTube, keep people watching the same type of material over and over.
“People like things that get them upset. They like things that are exciting. They like things that get them angry or get them laughing. So, we tend to be triggered by strong emotional responses. They just want to keep us on these platforms. That’s their only goal. In order to do that, they take us down these rabbit holes.”
Not only is the repetition of certain topics being displayed on social media playing a factor in influence, formed groups on places like Facebook fuel the fire as well.
“These private groups can become sort of little incubation pods. Basically, for conspiracy theories, for racialization, and you see this happening globally… People can sort of find like-minded people and then that kind of feeds on itself.” She added, “One of the hardest things about social media is expanding our social media bubble.”
When prominent figures engage in conspiracy theories, propaganda, and other false claims, it encourages groups to keep going.
Just recently, President Donald Trump’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were suspended, and posts deleted for the spread of false information.
Freeman believes there must be some type of regulation to protect users on these platforms.
“Some can argue that it’s too little, too late, but that’s almost a band-aid onto a larger problem,” she explained. “These platforms have a responsibility to acknowledge people are getting news from them. They’re not just social media sites. People are treating them like news sites… It’s not just our democracy that’s going to be challenged, it’s democracy all over the world.”
Freeman encourages social media users before the share a post or information, fact check.
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