For Facebook and Twitter, the day of reckoning has arrived. Reality is hitting the two social media platforms hard, with non-stop scandals, and falling user numbers. Or at least that’s what CNET‘s Ian Sherr recently wrote.
According to CNET, after attracting nearly half of the world’s population, Facebook and Twitter are facing a slew of complex issues. Their respective stock prices are falling, as well as user numbers. Twitter saw a drop to 335 million active users from 336 million active users in just three months. Facebook recently absorbed its toughest market blow yet, with its value sinking more than 17 percent.
Data scandals have contributed to Facebook’s downfall, and although Twitter has managed to remain out of the spotlight in that regard, a report by The Telegraph, published in April this year, revealed that the company had – long before Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal had hit the headlines – sold data to Aleksandr Kogan, who created tools for Cambridge Analytica, helping the consultancy firm profile and target potential voters.
A month later, as the Inquisitr reported, Twitter publicly came out with another – arguably worse – gaffe. The social network urged its users to change passwords, after discovering what they referred to as a “system bug.” Apparently, instead of storing user passwords securely, using encryption, the social media giant stored them in plain text. They have since apologized to their users, vowing to commit to winning back their trust.
Now, as CNET writes, the time has come for Facebook and Twitter to face the music. Conspiracy theories, abuse, fake news, hate mobs, troll campaigns, threats remain a concern for the two social media giants, Sherr suggests.
Writing about problems Facebook has been facing, Sherr suggested the following.
“Zuckerberg in particular was publicly dismissive after the 2016 US presidential election that hoaxes and false news stories had impacted voting trends. Then he was slow to address concerns about abuse and harassment campaigns by some Facebook users, most recently the popular conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. And Facebook has been blamed as well for not watching its service closely enough to stop the spread of misinformation that led to violence in other countries.”
Twitter, on the other hand, has perhaps even more to deal with, considering one of the most popular accounts on the network, President Donald Trump’s official Twitter page, has made threats against other countries, personal insults against others.
“For Twitter, the problems have been even more pronounced. Hate mobs have used the service to coordinate campaigns against politicians, activists and victims of mass shootings. President Donald Trump has used Twitter to make some of his most controversial statements, ranging from threats against other countries to personal insults against women’s looks.”
Are social networking platforms public forums, where free speech needs to be protected? According to a federal judge, they are. In May this year, as Ars Technica reported, Naomi Buchwald, a New York Federal judge, ruled that Donald Trump’s personal use of the Twitter block button violated the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The “interactive space” around Trump tweets is a public forum, Buchwald concluded, kick-starting debate about the fine line between freedom of speech and online harassment.