Security

Fake News and Its Deterrents

For this week’s discussion post, I wanted to reflect on one of the primary deterrents to the spreading of fake news, internet censorship. As stated by Vivian Roach of Baylor Lariat, “In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, an “infodemic” has also emerged” (Roach, 2020). Misinformation has impacted us all, yet the policies companies like Facebook enacted, such as tagging posts and marking them as ‘going against their community standards,’ directly interferes with our right to free speech, whether wrong or not. In this week’s reading, many of the topics introduced could be (for the most part) dealt with intense Internet policies and regulations; however, should the level of constraint on U.S. citizens regarding internet usage really mirror a country such as China?

As a lover of technology and freedom, this debate is quite dear to me. The fight for internet privacy and censorship is nothing new, as every medium of communication and knowledge sharing throughout history has gone under fire by those with the power to do so. Inventions such as the printing press ushered in a new age of mass communication, enabling those without voices to be heard worldwide; for governments and leaders, this can be intimidating, especially without the ability to control the content of the message. Fast forward to today, the current state of the Internet seamlessly connects people around the world with an information superhighway, allowing us to share our thoughts, spread ideas and beliefs, work on projects, and bring events living in the shadows to the light.

The Internet can be a remarkable technology if used correctly and for the right reasons, but as we all know, there are those in the world who abuse this gift and use it for nefarious intents. Terrorists use the Internet for recruitment, utilizing message boards and social media platforms to coerce young, easily-manipulated minds into their radical beliefs. Hackers use the power of code and encryption to safeguard their identities and actions on the Internet to gain access to or disrupt various targets. Finally, your everyday ‘law-abiding’ citizen can use the Internet to spread disinformation, lies, and propaganda to influence elections. Having some form of law on the Internet can indeed be necessary for ensuring that these actions can be identified and dealt with.

Internet censorship can block harmful sites, allow reliable and secure websites to be accessed, and help securely send sensitive information. Also, by enforcing strict internet guidelines and eliminating net neutrality, those who think they are safe from persecution using an alias or IP routing can be in for a rude awakening.

As an American and an Air Force veteran, I view every freedom we have as a necessary, deserved, and fought-for-right. Freedom of speech is one of the most significant contributors to our nation’s ideological beliefs, celebrating our cultural differences and expressing our thoughts and feelings.

The right to freedom of speech is eliminated once there is a limit to what you can/can’t say on the internet. While social media platforms like Facebook have the right to delete or tag content as hateful or harmful, the right to express what you wish on the Internet should be protected to its utmost ability. The Internet is the canvas to which the world can express their thoughts, beliefs, and ideas, painting a picture of the world of the past, present, and future; internet censorship and net neutrality, to me, act as the eraser to this beautiful painting, in fear of what it is, instead of the hope of what it can become.

Reference

Roach, V. (2020, October 02). Censoring fake news on social media presents a slippery slope. Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://baylorlariat.com/2020/10/02/censoring-fake-news-on-social-media-presents-a-slippery-slope/.

Categories: Security

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