The Good, Bad and Ugly side of Social Media – Editorial One

Issue 415, May 15, 2019

New Zealand changed for ever following the massacre in Christchurch on March 15, 2019.

The mindless shooting of innocent people praying in Mosques and ‘boastful manifesto’ and live-recording of the incident by the accused terrorist have raised questions about the way in which the Social Media in general and Facebook in particular operates.

Global Summit in Paris

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is to jointly host a global summit on the issue with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on May 15, 2019. We will of course report and comment on the event.

One of the inevitable issues that will be discussed at the Summit would be the need to regulate the Social Media, especially Facebook, since it provides a wide and unrestricted platform for all kinds of people to express all kinds of things.

As an expert said, self-regulation has failed, and Facebook can no longer be trusted with it.

Police Monitoring

Should the Police monitor Social Media? The question seems to have an obvious answer.

“Social Media,” says Joe Giacalone, a retired New York Police Department detective, “is a treasure-trove for investigators. People post stuff they shouldn’t…vehicles, weapons, you name it. If you are dumb enough to post something on Social Media and you are wanted for a crime, you deserve to get caught.”

In this sense, Social Media is no different from any other public space. If criminals brag about or plot their exploits publicly online, Police should be able to use that information without obtaining a warrant, just as if they overheard chatter in a bar or on a street corner.

As the Economist said, they (Social Media) make their money by putting photos, personal posts, news stories and advertisements in front of you.

The result is compelling: one study found that users in rich countries touch their phones 2600 times a day.

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