Hm? I don't see your point. You said "I'd be more concerned about propaganda", and then brought up a more or less random point about a seeming correlation between gun violence and legislation. This strongly implies that you think this relates to said "propaganda", but leaves it at the level of a loaded suggestion as you neither argue for it nor present any data or analysis supporting there being an actual causal relation. Hence me asking about the directionality of this relation and whether there can be said to be any causal link at all. Is this difficult to grasp?
The post you quoted just said "this is a difficult question, just like gun control". You took that statement and... went to "the places with the strictest gun control laws have the most gun violence", as if that statement somehow addresses the complexities of gun control.
Individuals have the ability to turn off things they do not want to see and encourage things they do want to see. One person may choose to turn off CNN, another to turn off Fox News. If you run around looking for Russian conspiracies then you'll see that, if you look for Q-Anon then it'll show you more. If you want to know how useless masks are you'll see that, if you want to know how great they are that is what you'll see.
Again, this is a bit too simplistic. It's not wrong
, but using the word "choose" without any further reservations makes it sound as if this is an entirely voluntary and rational process, which it isn't - and crucially, can never realistically be. Relating consciously and rationally to everything
in your life is simply not possible - even attempting such a thing is a recipe for exhaustion and burnout. Heck, there is plenty of research on the severe detrimental effects of too much information and having too many choices to make. Our brains don't work that way - relying on habit, automated responses, or just not thinking things through all that much is a survival mechanism. This of course has several issues, from those habits and automated responses being flawed in various ways (in no small part thanks to habits often forming from
these non-rational, to opening one up to manipulation.
The issue arises when so much of our lives are mediated through essentially free-for-all platforms, where anyone with the right degree of savvy and lack of scruples have the means to spread manipulative lies to millions of people. And the issue is exacerbated when these platforms are built around "engagement", and see all
engagement as good
engagement, meaning that anything shocking or provocative gets promoted and shared more, gets featured more prominently in people's feeds, etc. And on top of that there are the algorithms for feeding you new
things, which feed off previous engagement, which always leads to escalation in degree and form. There's plenty of excellent reporting done on the shockingly short path from watching relatively moderate conservative videos on YouTube to being served bonkers Pizzagate-style conspiracy theories - and Facebook does the same, just slightly more subtly and more through paid ads.
What this really amounts to is the rather obvious - people want to control what others see and read in order to foist their agendas on others. Since social media is a 'push' model unlike say a library which is clearly a 'pull' model, it's an easy target. You are not getting educated on social media, you are being indoctrinated. This is where most people will have a cow, because they think they've learned so much on Twitter and Facebook.
This on the other hand I completely agree with. Social media gained popularity through ease of use and new modes of communication, but brought with them a problematic blurring of the lines between social and parasocial relationships as well as various never before seen modes of one-to-many multidirectional communication (or: shouting into the void, hoping for a response). On top of that, as these companies were hemorrhaging money (and the creators likely took a lot of voyeuristic pleasure in their access to various data), they started mixing ands and promotions into this - which quickly become a really, really problematic mixture. Rather than realizing the initial utopian dream of free and open communication we instead have a system dominated by (hidden) money and power, just in slightly new forms (often modelled after tax evasion and other neoliberal schemes, with shell accounts and astroturfing), but with all the more reach and impact as people haven't learned (or have forgotten) how to differentiate between trustworthy sources, actual social relationships, and all the cruft.
Btw, a really interesting article I read the other day by one of the more interesting media researchers in recent decades on this exact thing: People aren't meant to talk this much