In terms of the social and gaming landscapes, as described earlier, Meta imagines constructing a network of virtual realms through which people can hop with relative ease. You could go from a VR chat sandbox to a video game with friends to even collaborating in a conference room from your desk in a matter of minutes. The possibilities are endless — at least until full-dive comes out and we all turn into vegetables.
With only a few months left until the highly anticipated 2020 Presidential Election, voters are beginning to request their absentee ballots and presidential candidates are revving up their (virtual) campaign trails. Facebook is preparing as well; CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that the social media platform will not be running any new political ads the week before Election Day, in conjunction with attempting to add more context to misinformed posts on their site. Now, what obligations do large tech companies like Facebook and Google have to shut down misinformation? Is it their responsibility to monitor what people upload onto the internet via their service, which is pledged to be a free and open space? If Prometheus gave fire to mankind, should he have given them an instruction manual and a set of rules to go along with it, or was he right to let humans run rampant with their new toy, albeit one that could burn down the world if used incorrectly?
The Sun’s Facebook comments section needs to be moderated. The comments on Amelia Zohore’s ’21 latest piece, “Loteria, the Ivy League Stripper,” makes it clear that The Sun’s online platform has become a vehicle for those who aim to impugn the essential dignity of The Sun’s columnists as well as marginalized groups. Commentary below Zohore’s column and other posts by The Sun frequently contains language that perpetuates hatred toward low-income people, women, nonbinary people and people of color. Implementing a clear and concise set of rules about what constitutes an appropriate comment within The Sun’s social media pages will promote productive discourse and preserve the essential dignity of columnists and identity groups the paper frequently discusses. There is a precedent for this kind of action.
Seeing Sun memes and Facebook comment threads about the work I and other columnists have produced is my guilty pleasure. I love setting the sort method to “All Comments” and methodically plugging through all the replies: Good discourse, illogical arguments and trolls’ messages all the same. The comments typically come from all sides of the political spectrum, alumni, current students and even members of the public who find it a good use of their time to crawl the Facebook page of a college newspaper. But what are our responsibilities as Cornellians and Sun readers to promote dialogue on this campus? And, how can Sunnies improve our work by responding to these comments — vitriolic or otherwise?
Facebook announced this summer they would invest $7.5 million in new research partnerships with academics from three universities: Cornell University, University of California at Berkeley and University of Maryland.
Raise your hand if you used social media today. If you’ve posted in the past month. If any part of that post — photo, editing, caption, geotag — was vetted by someone else before publication. Wave it around if you’ve ever done something or gone somewhere specifically “for the ’gram.”
It’s true that this behavior has become normalized, and that I myself participate. Neither negates the fact that it’s totally bananas.