As tensions rise concurrent with the 2020 Presidential election, more and more people are expressing their opinions and beliefs on social media. Unfortunately, however, some of the information spread on platforms like Facebook and Instagram are blatantly untrue and/or misleading and Selena Gomez is attempting to curb what she believes is misinformation.
“It’s been a while since we sat down. We have a serious problem. Facebook and Instagram are being used to spread hate, misinformation, racism and bigotry,” the singer wrote in a private message to chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. “I am calling you both to help stop this. Please shut down groups and users focused on spreading hate speech violence and misinformation. Our future depends on it.” Gomez, who has 193 million followers on Facebook-owned Instagram and 77+ million on Facebook, shared a screenshot of her private message to her Instagram story, initiating a public conversation on the topic.
Way before the 28-year-old got in touch with the top executives for the two social media platform entities, they’ve had an interesting history with fact-checking and censorship. Both sides of the political spectrum have complained about unequal treatment, with well-known government-supplied statistics oft times labeled as “misinformation” or “misleading.” Though Facebook’s rules dictate that they will crack down on speech against “protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability,” their broad based limits are difficult to uniformly enforce.
Regardless of the documented reality, celebrities and users alike believe that these social media companies are not doing enough to police controversial speech.