Political posts lack the moderation they need

The little content warnings were never enough

After the absolute dumpster fire that was the 2020 election cycle, there is call for social media companies to tighten up their terms of service and increase the moderation on their platforms.

This all came to a head when former President Donald Trump was having his tweets get flagged by Twitter for posting misinformation. His supporters as well as himself were insanely angry about these flags. This event made the “conservative social networking app” Parlor, surge in popularity, however, they were at the other end of the moderation spectrum in the sense that there was absolutely none.

Misinformation was spreading like head lice at an elementary school on social media during the last two presidential cycles. Take a look back at the 2016 election “Cambridge Analytica” scandal. The gist of that was a British company was harvesting Facebook users data to serve them targeted, sometime misinformed, political ads.

I’m not advocating for censorship, but those little warnings became just that: little. This led to them becoming quickly ignored by the masses, myself included. They just faded into the background very quickly, especially on TikTok where they were on any and every politics related video for months.

The misinformation problem grew so much during the 2020 election cycle, so much so that multiple government officials were publicly buying into wild, disproven conspiracy theories because of how popular they’d become online. Look at Georgia Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. Besides campaign updates, all she posts are disproven conspiracy theories with absolutely no moderation by the platform they’re posted to.

I personally got insanely tired of seeing politically based content towards the end of the election cycle. I feel as though if social media companies can flag a post for potential political misinformation, that they can then set an option to limit, if not totally disable political posts from appearing in a user’s feed.

I feel as though this would be the absolute least they could do, but they likely never will for one sole reason: ad revenue.

Looking back at the election, I recall seeing so many accounts that were blatantly breaking terms of service for the platforms they were posting content on. I can’t even pick out the worst offender because of how bad they all were, I mean Twitter, Facebook, TikTok — all of them were terrible at keeping their terms of service enforced.

This is especially true for politicians. Donald Trump’s accounts were left unchecked for five years while he was spewing hate speech and misinformation. The only checks that were put in place were tiny little warnings that were ignored by his “aggressively enthusiastic” supporters. They shouldn’t get special privilege because of their status. Social media companies need to retake control of their platforms, that fact is clear, and they can only do this with huge, sweeping changes.

For starters, re-familiarize their users with the terms they agreed to when they joined the app. Second, they need to step up their game and enforce the terms they have laid out. Third, they need to stop giving public figures free rein to break their terms of service as I feel it gives “permission” for said public figures supporters to do the same. Finally, they need to take user reports more seriously. There are countless times have I reported accounts for clear terms of service violations just for the app to spit back that what they posted was fine.

Fixing these blatant short comings is a must and I don’t think they can wait until another election cycle to do so. The users of these social media apps need to reach out to them and tell them what change they want to see, or there just won’t be any.