Who Will Answer the Mother of All Questions as Anti-Social Facebook Faces Reality Check?
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere…” Elie Wiesel
Well, well, well … the chickens have finally come home to roost and the fox is trapped and documented.
To open the door, it took a conscientious whistleblower, Frances Haugen, a data scientist with a computer engineering degree and a Harvard MBA who wanted to work against misinformation because she had lost a friend to online conspiracy theories on Facebook.
She released tens of thousands of pages of internal research and documents to lawyers and SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) replete with evidence that Facebook was aware of several problems caused by its apps like Instagram with its “toxic” effect on teen girls.
In a Senate subcommittee hearing she testified, “I believe that Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy … the company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people.”
And so, the battle will continue perhaps for years as offense lawyers battle defense lawyers to urge the government to regulate this Social Media giant. And so, many debates will roll out between adults, some elderly with lesser experience, as they discuss “human trafficking” or “domestic servitude” or freedom of hate speech or responsibilities to shareholders.
But who will listen to the most vulnerable victims, the subset of teen girls with life-long scars, the future of mothers-to-be?
For many years now, the saddest part, is how Adolescent Brain research has statistically confirmed the negative hyperbolic media influence on the developing brain prone to cooperative peer pressure and likeability factors. Over and over we heard the statement that logical thinking processes don’t mature until the early twenties and yet here the innocent children were making adult orientated decisions to please the corporate algorithms, mostly for male views.
Now there is only more tragic verification how Facebook’s antisocial promotions really were meant to antagonize and polarize to get more reactions for clicks. It is deeply disturbing that especially our teen girls have grown up in this environment as cell phone addicts with their sense of social rites of passage and a productive healthy self forever modified to fit a false narrative.
I wonder how their lost development and maturity will be addressed by the legal teams since the psychological damage has now perpetuated for two decades since the advent of the cellphone and Selfie worship.
Will the legal teams get around to discuss how to remediate these teen social media struggles when time cannot be reversed?
Will they try to find answers or solutions to these dilemmas:
...how lack of primer definitions about power and features of social media meant more exposure to bad choices
…how ideal body images mandated breast, lip and butt enhancements by pressure and profiteers
…how a self-infatuated mother may treat her selfie children or may not want motherhood at all
…how beauty, influencers or mob mentality rule teen girls on Instagram, Fan Fiction and YouTube videos
…how does social media affect education or e-learning with 5 problems
…how the norms of culture itself have been transformed by clicks or tweets with music, literature, politics, and science where self-inflation not public good rules the day.
The Biggest Mother of all Questions
Which young woman will testify about how her timeline has been radicalized by Facebook’s manipulation on behalf of her sisterhood?
How will she describe how her young brain was targeted and modulated by anger, anxiety, depression, and emotions so she couldn’t sleep or do well in school?
How will she account for the stew of neurochemicals like dopamine, adrenaline, and cortisol which controlled her behavior to be “liked” or hated or consider suicide as an alternative (30 % possibility)?
How can she explain her addiction to this powerful neural feedback loop that exploited her feelings of weakness to belong to society’s expectations on her personal screen?
Consider how challenging it will be to now disconnect from this learned behavior, so often based on fraud, to reclaim her life and her children’s attitudes to believe in positive self-esteem and connections that celebrate unity and true cultural achievement.
In fact, the general question for everyone is how to become more self-aware knowing that Facebook’s successful conclusion was that angry content is what people want because that is what WE respond to.
Facebook will continue to be a mega-giant on a planetary scale far beyond messaging or sharing photos at whatever age. Its platforms are critical for doing business, virtual learning, politics, medical emergencies and much more. When Facebook was shut down for 6 hours, the world took a deep breath not to panic.
Facebook is 17 years old, started on Feb. 2004. As it comes of age to realize the energy growth of being one of the first pioneers, it will also cull its mistakes and regroup its priorities for positive connections with or without regulations.
Until then it will be our individual responsibility to watch our actions and protect our children especially teen girls.
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