Social media is broken. The algorithms in this little shop of horrors have grown to seismic proportions, their demands to be fed more human data growing as they can no longer be satiated. The shopkeepers of Silicon Valley continue to lure people in for the feedings, too afraid of what they’ll lose to see that the monster is out of control.
Even as conspiracy theories, hate groups, and lies proliferated on social media, not just at the hands of users, but at the hands of the algorithms promoting them, Silicon Valley stood down. Even as human rights activists and the government began circling the platforms, suggesting that the idea of unfettered free speech may be compromised if the platforms couldn’t find a way to police themselves, they stood down. Even as mental health professionals turned up increasingly alarming data about the damaging effects of social media on its users, particularly its youngest users, Silicon Valley stood down.
Big Tech CEOs have waxed on about their efforts to make change for years, but we have seen few results. As these companies continue to operate opaquely, we’re left to speculate about much of their decision making, with most speculation being that their decisions are biased, reactive, and altogether much too little, much too late.
The refusal of The Silicon Six to exert any control over the evolution of their products has led to collateral damages now sending shockwaves across the world. Truth, trust, democracy, communication, empathy and unity are crumbling at the hands of those who have repeatedly proven themselves to be unfit for the magnitude of their responsibility. It is time for change.