While I spend the next week or so commuting from home (a little more than an hour away from Temple), I have really gotten the chance to dive into some podcasts. I am a bit of a nerd for NPR and definitely gravitate towards their shows. Today, I actually listened this this American Life, a podcast highlighting different stories that surround lives of Americans today. The one I happened to give a go today to was about the story behind the conspiracy stories that go around the internet today, specifically the Sandy Hook shooting.
As a quick summary, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut suffered a mass shooting in 2012. In the school, 27 people were shot, including 20 children. This shook the entire nation and raised questions about gun laws in this country and the safety of the education instructions that parents send their children to every day. The shooting, also, sparked conspiracies about what really went on that day and why it happened.
These conspiracies were fueled by conspiracy theorists trying to shine a light on government misconduct. They used Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to spread rants on how the parents of the children were actors, they had no proof of it happening, and questioning why the investigations were done the way they were. Lenny Pozner, a parent of one of the children fatally shot that day, had enough of it. He hated seeing his family pictured as liars after the shooting and fought back. He spent the coming days and months filling copyright strikes on the people speaking ill of his family and saying the shooting was a hoax. He brought the question to Facebook and YouTube, asking why is this content allowed? First amendment rights are a thing, and he was not asking for them to be silenced publicly, but he wanted to know why a social infrastructure like Facebook allows their site to be used as a vehicle to spread lies and misinformation.
What do you think of this? Do you think the internet is the “wild, wild west” and should be left alone? Or do you think it would be better off for society to silence the hate speech on these sites?