Social media is having its difficult adolescence. Facebook is approaching its 14th birthday, YouTube is 13, and Twitter is almost 12. In each case, a happy childhood has been replaced by awkward teen or tween years. In recent weeks, each of these companies has suffered embarrassing setbacks.
Facebook was sharply criticized for segmenting its users into “filter bubbles,” for allowing foreign money to interfere with the last U.S. presidential election, and for failing to stop the spread of “fake news” on its platform. Some former Facebook executives and engineers have argued publicly that social media is addictive and that companies (including Facebook) have taken advantage of this fact for profit.
Twitter was recently sued by notorious troll Charles Johnson on the grounds that its silencing of him violated his free speech rights under the California Constitution. At the same time, Twitter has been forced to defend its failure to discipline public figure users such as Donald Trump, who has insulted and threatened foreign and domestic entities, including threatening North Korea with nuclear attack.
Nothing encapsulates social media’s difficult adolescence like the case of Logan Paul and his infamous “suicide forest” video. Paul is a 22-year-old YouTube star who, despite (or perhaps because of) his 15 million subscribers, seems stuck in his own adolescence. He became famous as a teenager for creating viral micro-videos on the Vine platform, and switched to YouTube around the time Vine closed up shop.
Read the full piece at The Hill.