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Did Social Media Cross The Line?

"At what point can we as a society say it has gone too far?"

(Opinion Commentary)

Rick Moghadam, Contributing Writer

In just thirty years we have seen such a transformation in how we hear about a company or a brand. We went from cheesy infomercials on fuzzy television stations, and radio shout outs to where the average person sees 5,000 ads per day. In order to keep this post on the topic, we elected to stop any ads on this post. There is nothing wrong with a business wanting to gain exposure, nor is there anything wrong with them paying for it. At what point can we say as a society that it has gone too far? Protecting the freedom of speech and protecting impressionable youth are both vital points in a discussion like this.

Every social media platform uses algorithm marketing, if you are not familiar with the term, read on because I am going to explain it. Algorithm marketing is when the advertiser chooses the audience they want their ads to show to. These statistics are available to them because many social media platforms track how their users interact with any post. That is great for businesses, but sadly it does not stop there. I watched Haugen testify to the senate and walked away with more questions than answers, like many.

Before the internet, back in the printed newspaper days, advertisers simply were to place an ad, if you chose to read it or not was your choice. Parents could toss the ads in the trash and control what their children were exposed to. They would switch off the television or radio if something was playing they did not want their child to see. Parents can still censor what their child is viewing, is government regulation something we need here? We all know the parents that use the iPad to keep their child entertained while they are accomplishing their task.

On the other side of this we cannot keep letting the self esteem of these children, especially the younger girls to be bashed in a platform because they do not feel they measure up. Looking at Facebook as a utility does not seem like the right answer either because it is not a vital service you have to have in order to function or live. Utilities are Water, Gas and Electric, not social media. Do we make a verified age requirement for social media to become something that we allow only for adults? Who regulates that, what will that cost? Remember, this is a private business.

One of my other businesses is a funding company for businesses, and we cannot target because of the nature of the business on social media. That makes me wonder, if we take away the ability to target any audience will that curb the effect because that questionable ad shows up on Mom's feed the same way it does on the daughter's feed? The selling point of social media was to keep up with friends and family on a posting board, but you will find the same way that I found, the algorithm did not stop at ads, it also decides who's post I see.

My opinion and answer to this problem is actually simple, knock out the algorithm across all social media platforms, you follow it, you see it, no computer program should make that decision for you or for me. The other part of this is parents need to watch what their kids are doing on social media. The algorithm also causes other issues, it does not allow for you to see "the other side's opinion." One may question why they do that, or if they do that, rest assured they do because if there is only stuff showing up on your news feed that you agree with they know that you will stay on the platform longer, and have the chance to show you more ads.

At the beginning of this article, I asked what do you think? I also think that those comments should go directly on this thread on this page, not for my own benefit either, but because we do not have an algorithm, when I built this platform, I built it without one because I do not believe any computer should dictate what you see, and what you think.

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