(11g) Attack by John Cleese on social (and other) media

The comedian John Cleese criticised social media during the promotion of a new film, I think for some good reasons while he also admitted he used them too as they have many positive advantages.

I use social media to stay in contact with family and friends close by home and worldwide and I would not want to miss it anymore, even when I only use these media scarcely. That is one of the main advantages of social media: you can connect very easily with people you want to follow or publish short messages very quickly so friends and family stay informed about you.

However, indeed there are excesses whereby some people misuse these media, e.g. bullying and/or spreading rumours about other people, sometimes even driving people towards committing suicide. These excesses can and should be stopped. Some people say that is not possible because there are no specific laws with regard to social media and more in general the internet. However, although I am not a lawyer, I think the existing laws are usable, maybe with some small changes.

Indeed, what is written on the internet is similar as if it were written as a letter. E.g. there are also (anonymously) written letters that spread abuse and
when victims file a complaint, police will investigate so the writers can be punish if they break the laws; identical for abuse written on the internet. I admit the main problem is when others spread gossip under someone else's name, then the situation becomes more difficult. But that is why police should investigate.

It should be possible to report abuse easily and providers should act against abuse (although what is abuse is not always easy to define), even when it is only in their own interests as otherwise people will turn away from social media. But first of all, friends should be able to tell each other not to publish something when they find it hurtful and real friends will agree.

The only problem I have with people who use social media correctly is when you meet up with them in a bar and they communicate more with their friends on the social media than with you although uploading sometimes a picture to show everyone you're having fun is not a problem. Indeed, it is unsocial towards the friends sitting with the person using the media but I think that behaviour will change ones people start getting a little bored with social media, certainly when a few friends left because they felt neglected. Corrections always happen.

John Cleese also made a strong attack against many but not all newspapers (media), claiming that probably some journalists will soon end up behind bars in prison. Of course, then many media will call it restrictions on press freedom, but as with social media, it will force media to think about their relations towards other people and to publish respectful about others so people will defend a free but critical press. But this has been discussed in previous articles.


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