Dorothy Dobbie posing for a picture with certificates in the background
Dorothy Dobbie

Issues in the news


According to reports from the traditional media outlets, social media is the root of all evil in Canada. Supposedly, we “stupid people” on the outside of the news and newsmakers, the academics and “experts”, are not discriminating enough to make up our own minds about what is true and what is not true or worthy of consideration.

Therefore, we need people to “curate” the news, to decide what we shouldn’t hear, to shut down what we shouldn’t say, and to ensure that we all think the “right” way. We need to know that this is why social media is so fraught with danger, especially to our young children – right? Those impressionable young minds can be bent in any way indiscriminating people choose – and those indiscriminating people may just include us “stupid and ill informed” parents. The kids might even end up with contrary opinions!

What a bunch of malarkey.

The current narrative that supports widespread powers for controlling what is said and thought and posted on social media is terrifying in its ultimate implications. If there is only one way to think, one way to express oneself, one way to conduct oneself, democracy is doomed.

In my view, social media is the most liberating thing to have come along since the invention of the printing press. It gives everyone a voice, just as when populations were smaller, everyone had a voice around the campfire, at council meetings, and in community town halls.

Newspapers were created to print the NEWS, but the news can be misinterpreted, shaped, massaged and deliberately corrupted – and it has always been that way. Back at the turn of the 19th century, there was great concern about “fake news”, some even blaming it for the Spanish War.

Generic photo of someone using their smartphone for social media.

Despite this, ordinary people seemed to be able, in the main, to determine the truth from fiction, the reasonable for the unreasonable. And I believe today is no different. If you don’t like what you read or see on social media, discard it or get off the platform. You are not being forced to listen. If you talk to your kids and have discussions, they will form the same ability to think and be critical about the information they come across.

The idea that some “higher power” can think for us is so unbelievably contrary to a free and open society that it is hard for those who were brought up think for themselves to accept. If we do accept this, we cannot be far from the kind of abuses that occurred in Russia during the days of the Iron Curtain, or in China during the Cultural Revolution.

Social media has its trolls, and they may not play nice. There are abusive people and those who deliberately set out to target those they disagree with. They deserve to be dumped from your feed or even just ignored. On Facebook, you can block them. You can report them, too. Or you can just ignore their poison and carry on.

I like to debate. I like to hear what those who disagree with me have to say. Sometimes it alters my thinking or adds a new dimension. I also like to make my point and maybe it does a little of the same to those I debate with. Most are respectful and if not, well, out the window they go. You can tell me whatever you like. Just don’t name-call me or my fellow posters, no matter what their opinion.

As for government attempts to censor us, to moderate what goes up on social media, that is an outright abuse of power. The license we give legislators does not extend to thought control.



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