Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Clear intentions will help political discourse


Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, moved forward to completely ban politically sponsored ads preceding the upcoming election cycles. This happened soon after the social media giant, Facebook, decided to let political ads run wild. Personally, getting rid of ads is the best solution and will likely make the next election interesting.
In the past, both Facebook and Twitter have had a succinct left-leaning bias. They have every right to be biased since they’re  private companies. However, both social platforms were shady and quiet about these leanings; in the past year, many right-leaning pages had claimed they were being silenced, although these claims were never verified. The reality of these claims is still unknown, but there seemed to be deceit on all sides.
Both platforms have chosen a side and a stance, and have been very public about it. This is extremely refreshing. Especially in an era of political games with elected officials who regularly contradict themselves.
Social media runs this country. It’s the main form of communication. Each of us snapchat our friends – sometimes more often than we actually see them in person. Twitter and Facebook are forms of news-gathering for a majority of Americans. Amongst platforms like Reddit (the amalgamation platform which deems itself “the front page of the internet”), the news is provided for Americans on-the-go. Especially for those who don’t have the time to watch standard news.
In some situations, these platforms do provide a better and more well-rounded form of news, with stories filtered onto everyone’s home pages. With sneaky and back-door ads and removal of opposing viewpoints, the main component to social media is lost and the platform no longer acts as the mode of discussion.
If people of opposing viewpoints, specifically in this country, finally begin to act sensibly and discuss instead of slander, it will begin with non-biased or openly biased platforms. Acknowledgment of bias or the total relinquishing of will now allow these platforms to move closer to being useful in discourse.
This also allows the platforms to now be figureheads for discourse, maybe gesturing to the rest of the world that “Hey, free speech is cool and we should all have it.”
Technically, banning political ads does impinge on the freedom of speech. But these platforms are companies, which have the right to close their platform. I do not make the point that this improves free speech. But  by choosing a side, bias is unclouded and thus the platforms can now act more openly and without deceit.
In effect, this will allow for better discourse, which is either no longer bogged down by political arguments and may be led by sensible political talks. Or, as has been seen since the dawn of the internet, the political divide will just get worse.
Cartoon by Annie Wheeler/Observer Staff

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Clear intentions will help political discourse