Social Media is too powerful now to be completely anonymous. Time was, Facebook, which kicked off the era of social media, lived up to the cliché of being the platform that brought together distant relatives and friends. The only complaint we had about it at that time was the pressure it put people under, reading the seemingly endless good news from all of their friends. Sounds rather quaint now.
Since coming into relevance Social Media has long been valued as a place where people have the power to remain anonymous and protect their identities while being online, the unfavourable truth is that anonymity comes at a huge cost to social platforms and those who make use of them.
The ability to remain anonymous online and to register social media accounts with no real personal information and no proof of identification has done nothing more than bring about the proliferation of trolls, spam, and out of control fake news which is not ideal for any country in the long run.
Troll Accounts make use of anonymous profiles to spend their days harassing and threatening millions across the internet, while spammers register millions of social accounts on a whim to hammer major social networks with a never ending barrage of posts full of advertisements. As we’ve seen with platforms like Facebook and Twitter, anonymity is often used as a tool to spread misinformation and manipulate and change public opinion/thinking.
Often these types of users result to long drawn out campaigns of harassment across social platforms, and the reason they often feel comfortable doing it is for the simple fact there’s no real public accountability for their actions. They can threaten, harass, and demean people all day long, and at worst, have their accounts terminated. But, the one consequence they don’t face is any form of real public accountability for their actions.
I believe that the use of Social Media is a privilege, NOT A RIGHT! Those who spam, spread misinformation with the intent to manipulate public thinking for the worse, or who threaten and harass others, probably have no place and no right to use social media at all.
I also believe that the only way to get a hold of the issues I noted above is to force those users, even those who choose to keep their profiles anonymous, to at the very least provide adequate identification proof when registering for their use of social platforms. Otherwise the issues with spammers, fake news, and trolls will always continue to persist.Some form of identity verification in social media would guarantee that every account is linked to a registered user. Without it, you can’t open a Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or YouTube account.
It’s time to demand that social media platforms worry less about “Fake News”and more about who, exactly, is posting in the first place. It’s time to invent a way to verify the identity of everyone on their platforms, perhaps integrated with citizen-identification systems already used by our government and other governments around the world.
One person, one page. One business, one page. When they roll out this new verification system, make everyone log out and then re-register before they can post again.I believe that the need for each individual/entity to have a verified account is paramount in current times when people are so easily persuaded to believe whatever they see online. The gullible and fickle-minded nature of the masses makes this exhaustive and large scale task absolutely necessary for a sense of calm and serenity on the internet.
Will it keep people from spreading lies, hate and influencing public mentality? NO. But it will at least hold these people – and everyone else – accountable to their posts.