Should Congress Make it Illegal to Ban Social Media Accounts?
Find out the dirty little secret social media companies don’t want you to know.
Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are three of the largest social media platforms in the world. Their combined user base is 5.4 billion active users. But it might surprise you to know that a lot of those active user accounts are run by the same person.
That’s because it’s perfectly legal for one person to create multiple accounts with the same login information.
If you want to understand how social media can be easily hijacked by nefarious accounts, it comes down to this fundamental issue. Should users be allowed to have multiple accounts?
Here are 3 Rules That Would Fix Social Media
Rule #1: Only One Personal Account
When Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were created, we were all living in the Wild Wild West of the Internet. There were no rules, no laws, no boundaries on the social media sites. As a result, a new phenomenon occurred, the “sock account.”
What is a sock account? It’s an alternate account that citizens create, so they can say whatever they want to say without their friends and family finding out about it.
Why are sock accounts bad? Because of that very reason. If you have a social media account that your friends and family know about, and you post something derogatory, racist, anti-semitic or vile, your friends and family will confront you face-to-face at some point to voice their anger over your posts and tweets.
Every human being wants to avoid being called out for saying stupid things. That’s why most people REFUSE to say the same toxic things in real life, where real people might get upset with them. Whereas online, there is less threat to your emotional cocoon.
Rule #2: Verified Business Accounts
If Rule #1 is enacted, social media no longer needs to verify personal accounts. If you can only have one personal account, you’re already verified, but what about business accounts?
Social media has emerged as one of the greatest business tools in the world. Therefore, we need a way for businesses to legitimately do business online. One of the biggest threats to democracy and capitalism is “fake” accounts that pretend to be legitimate businesses, but run scams or smear campaigns against legitimate American businesses.
This has to stop. The only way to stop this evil practice is to have a national clearing house for business accounts. For a small fee, businesses can register using their W-9 or 501c3 paperwork and also register their website domain name and all of their social media accounts.
If you are an entrepreneur, this means you can have one personal account, but as many business accounts as you’d like, as long as each business is legitimate.
Rule #3: It is Illegal to Ban a Personal Account
The reason it should be illegal to ban a personal account is because social media should not be allowed to be above the law. Under the Constitution of the United States, every citizen has the right to freedom of expression and speech. That means, personal accounts have the right to say whatever they want to say.
Eliminating sock accounts would greatly improve the experience on social media. When a person cannot hide who they are, they are less likely to go over the line.
And people that do routinely go over the line of decency will suffer consequences in their real life. Friends, family, colleagues will know what thoughts are going on inside their mind.
What is the Social Media Platforms Role?
No social media site can monitor all of the communications that occur on their platforms. Even with data mining, it’s an impossible task. That’s why solutions need to be possible — not ridiculous to enforce.
Every social media platform should have a robust reporting process. Users who are targeted, or are knowledgeable about false information should be able to report those communications to the social media platform.
Social media platforms should not be allowed to ban or shadow ban elected officials, or news outlets. There is legal recourse already on the books against government officials who violate the law, violate people’s rights or act unbecoming a sitting official.
In addition, there are already laws on the books that prevent media outlets from printing or publishing “known” false stories. And if they do publish said known falsehoods, they can be sued in court for liable.
If journalists in the media do not know the law, then they are stupid and reckless. It is not the job of social media platforms to become social vigilantes.
Recourse for speculative journalists should be class-action lawsuits against them personally and the news outlet that did not STOP THEM!
The End Result
So what will happen if we pass all 3 Rules?
The first thing is that all the individual accounts that were removed from social media platforms would be allowed to come back to those platforms.
Yes, that means former President Donald Trump would be allowed to create a new personal account. As a former President and a regular citizen, he would be allowed to say whatever he wanted to say.
I know some of you will disagree, if I get enough comments, I will write a new article about how to fix the political campaign debacle. Vis a vis, the fact that politicians can literally make up facts and use them as their campaign talking points without recourse.
But there’s a huge difference between an ordinary citizen having the right to free speech and someone running for President of the United States. And there needs to be a distinction. The ordinary citizen does not have the ability to change laws. Thus, the ordinary citizen does not have that same power, that someone running for office or elected to office has, that is why the Constitution gives citizens the right to free speech.
Every citizen should feel they can express their opinions, no matter how vile, how inappropriate, how racist, sexist or anti-semitic they may be. The reason is that ordinary citizens have to work really hard to get other people to agree with them and join them and organize. But the Constitution is also very clear, the minute an ordinary citizen organizes and becomes a group — they cease being an ordinary citizen and their rights to free speech become more limited.
That’s the beauty of America. As an individual citizen you should always have the right to say whatever you want to say.
But you should also be prepared as an ordinary citizen to have ZERO friends.
About the Author:
D.Scott Schwartz, M.Ed. is considered to be an expert in the field of education, by the NJ State Legislature and leading educational researchers. He is also a former journalist, as well as a political operative. He worked on many local and state campaigns, as well as on Congressional and US Senate campaigns.