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ACM Opinion

Social Media Is Polluting Society


Illustration of a bulldozer pushing and scooping up social media emojis.

A policy framework, akin to the Environmental Protection Agency, for social media—could be used to identify and evaluate the societal harms generated by these platforms.

Credit: MS Tech/Getty Images

We all want to be able to speak our minds online; however, we do not want to be exposed to speech that is inappropriate or crosses a line. Technology companies address this conundrum by hiring in-house moderators to examine and remove, if necessary, individual pieces of content.

However, even if content moderation were implemented perfectly, it would still miss a whole host of issues that are often portrayed as moderation problems but really are not. To address those non-speech issues, we need a new strategy: treat social media companies as potential polluters of the social fabric, and directly measure and mitigate the effects their choices have on human populations.

From MIT Technology Review
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