One aspect of Apple’s ecosystem that I truly enjoy is an aspect that many criticize. Apple’s ecosystem, whereby Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, Apple TV, the various App Stores, and applications all work well together in a curated, monitored system with rules and parameters.
Many don’t like such restrictions and prefer to be free to make choices themselves, rather than rely on the choices of others. Disney properties and media are popular for similar reasons to Apple– curation works. Yet, here we are in the age of fake news that swarms the misinformation superhighway with alarming speed and purveyors of illegitimate information say it’s all part of our freedom of speech.
What’s Wrong Is Wrong
Instead of producing technology which can be customized by the uber geek, Apple designs and manufactures devices that work well, work well together; a cultivated and curated system that makes complex and complicated devices and systems accessible and usable by the masses, even if the company’s market share isn’t so mass.
In other words, cultivation and curation adds value to products and helps users become more productive. What does that have to do with fake news? Apple cultivates and curates. Facebook and Google and other purveyors of information do not but they should because freedom of speech is not what many people think it is.
Read Carole Cadwalladr’s recent missive on Google search responses. It’s a scary situation because Google claims no bias in its results, yet those results are easily manipulated by those with a heavy bias.
Tech-savvy rightwingers have been able to ‘game’ the algorithms of internet giants and create a new reality where Hitler is a good guy, Jews are evil and… Donald Trump becomes president
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg claimed his company’s fake news did not sway the U.S. presidential election. Actually, it’s likely Facebook did just that as it has become a haven for scurrilous hate speech, religious and racial bigotry, and political misdeeds.
Google’s search engine results are manipulated by those who would spread evil misinformation, too. Facebook has become a haven for similar misinformation, yet the two are not alone. Websites and organizations the world over– from terrorists in the U.S., Mideast, and elsewhere, to seemingly near mainstream Fox News and others– are responsible for massive misinformation that ranges from distorted facts to outright lies and completely fake news, all with an agenda to disrupt and control.
Such lies and misinformation must stop or society will fall victim to even more dramatic upheavals in politics, government policies, assaults on freedoms we enjoy at the hands of those with no conscience, whose means justify their ends, regardless of consequence.
Apple curates and cultivates the company’s famed ecosystem because enough people are willing to pay more for an environment that rids them of lesser, but less expensive products that are also less personally rewarding.
Google and Facebook need to curate and cultivate their products, too, Apple style. If that means removing hate speech, deleting obvious racism, and relegating fake news to lower status in search results, or, in the case of Facebook clamping down on obvious fake news, and removing viral acceleration of racist hatred, so be it.
This is not an infringement upon free speech as it is known and used and abused in the U.S. Thanks to the Constitution, the government cannot make laws to inhibit freedom speech– even if it is hatred and false. But corporate American can and should do just that. Free speech– and with it false information, racist hatred, and bigotry– comes with consequences. Call your boss a pig-headed moron– exercising free speech— and you’re likely to lose your job. Mercilessly insult a waitress at a restaurant and you may find an overabundance of saliva in your drink or food. Put up hate speech, spread false news, and display your bigotry online, and Google and Facebook are under no obligation to make your message visible to others; yet they do. That’s wrong.
Unfortunately for humanity, neither Google nor Facebook appear to understand what they have wrought upon mankind, but all of us will suffer until they and others adopt a position similar to Apple and cultivate and curate their products appropriately.
Clean it up, Google and Facebook. You helped cause it. You should clean it up before forces you won’t want around combine to tell you to curate and cultivate their way instead.