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Freedom of Speech or....

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Stories of Victims of Conspiracy Theories... The Guardian


I always believed the answer to speech is speech.  Since the advent of social media platforms, I've begun to wonder.  It seems truth is often outweighed by disinformation and ignorance.  


In a society that values free speech, how do we cope with this aspect of technology? 


What about the more common and mundane abuses:  fake missing persons reports and fake crime reports on Facebook used to harass someone?


What is it about our society that it has apparently now become routine for such disputes to lead to violence, or threats of violence?

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People have always done this BS, in one form or another, forever.

Now, technology spreads the manure faster and further.

Seems like "more", but I think that doesn't mean more per capita rate, just more getting

their 15 minutes.

Remember streakers or just fence jumpers at national sporting events?

None. Rare. Bunch. Rare. 

People seek attention.

Some posts pictures of pets, or food, or places, or people.

Cool. But a new phenomena even though people have been eating for a long time.

Today, 1st Amendment "rights" are very subjective depending on who/what/where/when.

People always have, and always will, seek attention.

Perhaps for a good cause (Lady Godiva).

Colin K?

If someone benefits? If someone is harmed?

Violence as a response to perceived wrongs? Not unusual.

But when perception and reality don't correspond?

My "right" may be wrong.


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Couple things.


As mentioned, information can be dispersed to a wider audience much more quickly. It is very difficult to correct once it is out.


What bothers me the most is peoples lack of checking the information. Wanting something to be true should never over ride fact checking. Today, fact checking is very easy to do compared to having to go to a library and researching (how I learned). 


People who believe in all these conspiracy theories amaze me. They have no conception about how difficult it would be to pull it off. Of course I am not sure they have the ability to think critically (or just plain think).

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great question.  I don't know the answer.  The younger folks who didn't know life before internet are going to have to figure all that out, although I think that they are beginning to wise up about "the man behind the curtain" and down sides of all the current most popular social media platforms.  We live in interesting times. I think communication capabilities that we have now perversely actually promote social isolation in many cases, leading to a decreased ability to function in human presence/social situations.

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I think as noted it is just more visible, but has always been this way.  When I was in school, I had  a teacher who clearly had a personal agenda.  The teacher only taught American history and government  studies.  In government studies this teacher gave a lot of information that was totally opposite of what my father had  taught me.  Unknown to most people and to this teacher,  is the fact I am a first generation American.  My father was born in the UK and came to the US and participated in the full citizenship process.  So as a result my father knew  a lot about the constitution and how our government worked.  When I asked my father about  these differences, he did not become upset or just tell me to ignore the  teacher, he actually taught and showed me how to research the  information.  Of course in hindsight I now  know/understand the teacher was at the least misinformed and at the most someone trying to bring a different set of  ideas to our community.  In addition my father and mother  were very involved in the school.  PTA, parent conferences, teacher appreciation day etc.  So my father spoke with the school principal about what was  being taught in the government  class.  All I know is the teacher did not come back the next school year.  But looking back I could have had a very distorted view of  how our government works had my only resource been that teacher.


well move ahead 30 years and my son is in 6th grade taking a government course.  And his teacher sends home some assignment related to our government and I  and Ryan do the research and answer the questions.  He gets a "C" on the homework.   I know that cannot be, so I  now  go into the principals  office and   discuss the questions and answers.   It did take a while, but in the end the principal agreed all our answers were technically the correct answers.  And in fact the answers the teacher was looking for were  not correct but were the "prevailing" society answers.


All this is to say as noted above, there is a lot of information on the internet.  And in my personal experience about 99% is inaccurate.  the problem is, as any good con artist will tell you, the only way to con someone is to make the information 95% correct.  You are only looking to change 5%.  Most people will never fact check that last 5% and realize the whole premise is wrong.


One of my favorite memes that went around the internet about a year ago, was about Adam and Eve having two sons.  Notice they did  not say "only two sons" they just said two sons.  Of course technically Adam and Eve did have two sons, but also factually they had many sons and  daughters.  But the meme  was  worded in such as way as to get the reader to ask the question how did Adam and Eve populate the world with only two sons.  I always use this as the example of 95% factual, but really has no truth.  And for me (remember I am a faith based person) this has been going on since Adam and Eve.  In simple terms the serpent gave Eve 95% accurate information, just not the truth :-)


I think free speech has always been abused by those who have an evil intent.  I suspect it will be that way forever.  We are not a perfect species.



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