Tuesday 25 September, 2018

Social media should be regulated - Musk

Founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, strongly believes that social media should be regulated.

Speaking in a CBS interview on Wednesday morning, the tech billionaire said: “Wherever there’s something that affects the public good, then there does need to be some form of public oversight.

“I think there should be regulations on social media to the degree that it negatively affects the public good. We can’t have ‘will-nilly’ proliferation of fake news; that’s crazy,” said Musk.

The news industry has been beset by information that cannot be verified or is patently untrue. More often than not, this is perpetuated on digital and social media platforms, with these organisations posting whatever they want.

Case in point: Last summer, an entity purporting to be CNN, announced to the world that the actor, Clint Eastwood, had died. That information went viral, and it was not true, deemed in common parlance to be ‘fake news’.

The practice of journalism has been expropriated by media manipulators who are looking for a competitive edge by utilising click bate and other techniques of sophistry to supplant the work of editors and bona fide journalists in an effort to report favourable numbers.

Applied new acronyms have usurped veracity in modern journalism, and has eroded the public’s trust in what is read, so much so that the President of the United States has dismissed certain news organisations as purveyors of ‘fake news’.

This point is not lost on Elon Musk, who in his interview with Gayle King of CBS, said: “You can’t have more clicks on fake news than real news. That’s allowing public deception to go unchecked.”

This is while social media platform, Facebook, has come under fire for allowing access to people’s personal data, and for its inability to self-regulate its operations.

Its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is currently answering questions before both Houses of the US Congress concerning these issues.

On the issue of regulation, Zuckerberg said in Tuesday’s testimony: “I think the real question as the Internet becomes more important in people’s lives, is what is the right regulation? (It’s) not whether there should be or not.”

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, weighed in on the matter, saying: We (Apple) care about the user experience, and we’re not going to traffic in your personal life. I think it’s an invasion of privacy.

“Privacy to us is a human right. It’s a civil liberty. It’s something that is unique to America. You know this is like freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and privacy is right up there for us.”

The CEO added that Apple sells products, and people are not its products.

“The truth is we could make a ton of money if we monetise our customer. If our customer was our product, we could make a ton of money. We’ve elected not to do that because… our products are iPhones and iPads and Macs and HomePods and the Watch etc. And if we can convince you to buy one, we’ll make a little bit of money, right?

“But you are not our product. You are our customer. You are a jewel”.

Talking about the mining and monetising of people’s data by social media companies, Cook explained Apple’s position.

“We’ve never believed that these detailed profiles of people – that has incredibly deep personal information that is patched together from several sources – should exist.

“That the connection of all these dots, that  you could use them in such devious ways if someone wanted to do that, that this was one of the things that were possible in life, but shouldn’t exist – shouldn’t be allowed to exist!” declared Cook.

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