Instigator / Pro
14
1702
rating
569
debates
68.1%
won
Topic
#4225

[Tej Tourn, R1, RM vs SS] The rise of social media as a primary source of news distribution has thus far done more harm than good to society.

Status
Finished

The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
6
0
Better sources
4
4
Better legibility
2
2
Better conduct
2
1

After 2 votes and with 7 points ahead, the winner is...

RationalMadman
Parameters
Publication date
Last updated date
Type
Standard
Number of rounds
3
Time for argument
Three days
Max argument characters
10,000
Voting period
One week
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Open
Contender / Con
7
1500
rating
10
debates
35.0%
won
Description

This is for Round 1 of the Tejretics Tournament.

All semantics and technicalities to take place inside the debate.

Round 1
Pro
#1
Framework & Semantics

BoP Framing

I assume both sides inherently agree that the rise of social media (RSM) as a news distribution platform (NDP) is real and that it has actually become the primary way a lot of modern people in developed countries come across the News. Thus, I will not be proving the RSMNDP is real and occured unless Con brings forth evidence against this necessary assumption for the debate.

I preemptively clarify that even if social media (SM) is only the primary NDP for let's say 45% of people, this debate is about whether the rise of it to that has netted more harm or 'good' for society. Con cannot win this debate by saying it is not the primary NDP for the majority of society by itself as Con's Kritik. Con and I arranged a rewording of the resolution that was open to a few problematic attacks beforehand and as it's worded, it's clear that we are only discussing if the majority of the impact of those that have SM as their NDP has netted more harm or good for society as a proportion of itself; not necessarily being a severe harm of society vs other harms.

==

Semantics

What is social media?
Social media is a collective term for websites and applications that focus on communication, community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.

People use social media to stay in touch and interact with friends, family and various communities. Businesses use social applications to market and promote their products and track customer concerns.

Some popular examples of general social media platforms include TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

In the context of this debate the 'rise' refers to the popularity of SM as the primary NDP for people within societies engaging in its frequent usage. Con should agree to this, it's straightforward.


I will leave harm and good open for Con to offer definitions for as I feel the common-sense ones apply.

Society is defined as:
large group of people who live together in an organized way, making decisions about how to do things and sharing the work that needs to be done. All the people in a country, or in several similar countries, can be referred to as a society

but tweak this to be the large group of people in which a notable amount rely on SM as their primary NDP.


What even are Pro's points?

  1. The divide in society grows ridiculous and deep when you know the news your friends consider to matter most.
  2. Clickbait and attention deficient societies.
  3. Lack of social skills and depth regarding specific issues.
  4. There is no sound reason to use SM as your NDP.

The divide in society...

If you are able to see what your friends 'like', 'follow' and as a result what they don't 'like' and 'follow', there is suddenly an extremely inorganic and toxic level of cult-building and sheep-think involved with friendship circles in social media. The most blatant issue with SM as an NDP for any group of friends, let alone pair, is that what could be covert and independent is suddenly very interwoven with other areas of one's life and free thoughts.

The area of one's life and psyche attached to their formation of personality should be unrelated to who they decide to spend time with. You are who you are, you believe what you believe and the News articles that matter most to you are going to be unique to you. The fact that not just the source but the entire way that the RSM as an NDP has driven people to cave in to peer pressure regarding what they believe is massively problematic.

Let me be clear, this is far beyond saying 'but you can just avoid revealing what you read' since that itself is a sign these days that you are 'antisocial' or have something to hide. Your friends won't necessarily overtly tell you anything and that's fine. The irony is that you are also now more afraid to discuss News because everything related to the discussion is on-record and open for 'snitching' on you.

Entire Corporations have had to develop crisis plans in case any remotely significant employee among them states any opinion on any News at all as you are now chastised for it and can have your career ruined if you don't say the 'right' opinion on the right News articles.

HOW CANCEL CULTURE DRIVES CRISIS PLANNING
Cancel culture, by nature, can be hugely damaging to your brand or business. This phenomenon—in which an individual or group stops supporting a person, product, brand, or organization—is most associated with social media. The act of “canceling” could mean boycotting an actor’s movies, refusing to use certain brands, or failing to patronize a certain organization.

One recent example of the power of cancel culture is the student campaign at George Washington University Law School against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the wake of the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, which had legalized abortion. Students obtained 11,300 signatures on a petition calling for Thomas to be removed as an instructor. The university never had to take action because Thomas told the school he would be unavailable to teach this year. 
In another example, which occurred during the pandemic, podcaster Joe Rogan’s stance on vaccinations led some musicians to boycott Spotify, which hosts Rogan’s program.
What’s more, a decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to discontinue the publication of six children’s books due to perceived racism in images and text was viewed by conservative media as an attempt to push out beloved parts of American culture.

CRISIS RESPONSE PLANS ARE ESSENTIAL
The close link between social media and cancel culture highlights the necessity for a comprehensive social media policy and a crisis response plan. Protecting your organization’s hard-won reputation should always be front and center. Misinformation and mistakes can cause problems fast, so it is important to know what to do.
A social media policy should outline ways to provide feedback and address commentary so the information that is being shared online is current and correct. A crisis management plan should include a comprehensive social media policy so nothing is overlooked.

With a plan in place, you will have a roadmap for your response when an emergency occurs. Every instance will require different actions for different scenarios. Planning out your response ahead of time can remove some of the stress and uncertainty from the equation.

I am aware I am saying two separate things here:

  • The way that areas of one's life and friendships are now completely intertwined with pressuring fellow members of society (with unfriending, rejecting as a threat) if they happen to seem on the 'other side' of this either conservative vs liberal/progressive or Right vs Left divide. It's obviously more than that and genuinely the cancel culture is being done by the right-wing too, they're just more subtle.
  • The flip-side of this is that even those who try to avoid the sheep-think resulting from it have become oppressed and resentful to fellow members of society. The divide is inescapable to 'feel' and experience unless your views are in line with the ones doing the cancelling and oppressing in your particular group of society. This is so extreme that people have to fear entire careers being ruined on top of isolation from friends.
Before Social Media, you didn't need to know what others you associated with thought about everything, you had work colleagues as work colleagues, had your regular barber as the regular barber and didn't give a damn what they thought on matters as they'd keep it to themselves and share it selectively with friends at times. If their view was so taboo that society felt it was worth cancelling, they'd need to go out of their way to be that public about the opinion on the News or societal matter in order for it to result in severe ostracising. It was proportional and the divide in society was far more complex and intricate than now where there are the bland sheep and those too dumb to know to keep their mouth shut... Which is toxic on both sides to be identified as as it highlights the worst aspects of someone who was either having an opinion in line with society or brave enough to challenge the views others held.
_____________________

Clickbait and attention deficient societies.

Since people very rarely are sticking to one or two solid News sources and reading every word of every article, the dynamics of any NDP is to mimic what SM is even if it isn't SM. It's all about sending you via email or whatever else, the type of article that would make you pause your 3-second attention span before swiping away to the next page on whatever SM platform you use to get the latest juicy News that your friends or followed celebrities are viewing and stating opinions on.

I will explore this with more psychological proof and examples of the escalation of needing to exaggerate and overdo every single headline to grab attention in the next Round. It means the attention people are paying News is proportional to cunning presentation and headlines, not due to relevance of the News nor quality of the article. This is detrimental to a society if enough do it, especially if enough of the issues being overlooked in the News are very significant (but not attention-grabbing) ones.


Lack of social skills and depth regarding specific issues.

This is a hybrid of the first 2 points but is its own. People now interact in bubbles. They want to interact primarily with those that post what either they like to see or that don't challenge them in any way, they want statistics, an extra like, a number. They think of poeple in this way and think of the News itself by going 'what do my statistical buddies say matters'.



There is no sound reason to use SM as your NDP.

I feel this speaks for itself. Why would you not just browse News sites themselves?
Con
#2
What is news?

News is defined as - 1*“previously unknown information”

Good Events
Take the sharing of good events: someone’s birthday, a holiday, or a favorite meal. Posting of these circumstances counts as news and will most likely do good for the society involved. They are messages of goodwill and positivity. 


(CC = Cancel Culture)
Rebuttal 1: Cancel Culture 
Cancel Culture has become more prevalent with the RSM. But is social media the root of the origins of “Cancel Culture?” Perhaps there has been a rise of angry people, and they have contributed to the negatives of SM more than CC. 

Regardless, is CC bad?
Social pressure from Cancel Culture can be good. In the face of oppression and/or opposition, one can develop bravery. One can learn to hold true their own morals and standards better when they are tested and criticized. If enough of a group is being affected by CC, it will become largely the society that is being influenced and thus, the society will benefit positively by manifesting courage from within.  

Is Cancel Culture heavily intertwined with social media?
CC is within SM, but how much weight does CC truly hold? Is CC a truly powerful force? From Pro’s view CC is bad, but compared to the good of social media, how bad is it? 

CC can exist outside of social media. Perhaps CC happens out of SM more than we think, but is just thrown in our faces more due to the SM NDP. There may be an illusion of the power of CC, rather than a literal grasp over the SM NDP. Pro has to prove that CC is an actual power-housed problem, and that it is not mostly just an illusion and trickery.  

(Stand-Alone Statement) - Does CC, and all of the other “bad” included, outweigh the good of SM?


Rebuttal 2: Clickbait and attention deficient societies.
Perhaps humans were always attention deficient or low in attention-span, and SM capitalized on our instinctive human nature to help us receive news quickly in the best way possible. Clickbait is very attractive and is very good at piquing our interest. SM is made to be attention-grabbing for the benefit of better ND. 


Rebuttal 3: The divide in society...

  • The way that areas of one's life and friendships are now completely intertwined with pressuring fellow members of society (with unfriending, rejecting as a threat) if they happen to seem on the 'other side' of this either conservative vs liberal/progressive or Right vs Left divide. It's obviously more than that and genuinely the cancel culture is being done by the right-wing too, they're just more subtle.

Before Social Media, you didn't need to know what others you associated with thought about everything, you had work colleagues as work colleagues, had your regular barber as the regular barber and didn't give a damn what they thought on matters as they'd keep it to themselves and share it selectively with friends at times. If their view was so taboo that society felt it was worth cancelling, they'd need to go out of their way to be that public about the opinion on the News or societal matter in order for it to result in severe ostracising. It was proportional and the divide in society was far more complex and intricate than now where there are the bland sheep and those too dumb to know to keep their mouth shut... Which is toxic on both sides to be identified as as it highlights the worst aspects of someone who was either having an opinion in line with society or brave enough to challenge the views others held.
How is SM utilized by most users?
Do most SM users utilize SM as Pro has described? This has to be the majority to work in Pro's favor, otherwise, Pro's examples are only exceptions. 

Positives of SM 2*
The positive aspects of social media
While virtual interaction on social media doesn’t have the same psychological benefits as face-to-face contact, there are still many positive ways in which it can help you stay connected and support your wellbeing.
Social media enables you to:
  • Communicate and stay up to date with family and friends around the world.
  • Find new friends and communities; network with other people who share similar interests or ambitions.
  • Join or promote worthwhile causes; raise awareness on important issues.
  • Seek or offer emotional support during tough times.
  • Find vital social connection if you live in a remote area, for example, or have limited independence, social anxiety, or are part of a marginalized group.
  • Find an outlet for your creativity and self-expression.
  • Discover (with care) sources of valuable information and learning.

Round 2
Pro
#3
The semantics of News and what an NDP is

I enjoyed Pro's only self-typed constructive point, which is that SM has deteriorated our societal understanding of what actual serious News is to the point that someone making themselves a meal or an ordinary person having a birthday is held to be in the same category as the war in Ukraine. Let me agree with Con's semantics. I agree to that definition of News. I agree that SM has successfully destroyed our capacity to comprehend that News has tiers and there are tiers so low they shouldn't qualify as News. You have people competing with actual solid and important News by posting the meal they are eating on the same feed for their friends' brains to absorb the information. This is the heart of my case as Pro and actually encapsulates 3 of my contentions (all except the divide one).


There was no rebuttal 3, it was a 1-liner.

In fact, every single one of his rebuttals are just 'prove it' worded differently. So, before I 'prove' what I was going to expand on anyway (especially the clickbait angle), I want to clarify what 'harm' and 'good' are since my opponent chose not to define them.

harm

damage done to something
to damage something or make something worse

the common/general good (=benefit for everyone in society or in a group): The country’s natural resources should be used for the common good.

Now, since my opponent defined News as loose as would have people laugh one out the room back in the 90s, not just 80s and I say this not to mock my opponent but notice that the other 2 debates have similarly ridiculous definitions in place, I must note something:

Since Con includes casual posting into News Distribution, all harms attached to casual Social Media use are now included and let me expand my points further.


The 'cancel culture' (CC) boogeyman

I didn't say once in Round 1 that SM is totally to blame for CC. I said that CC has reached such a scale where for casual opinions on anything (which now is literally anything as my opponent defined 'News' that way), people can lose their jobs. Due to the fear of expressing oneself on said platforms, it follows that people are now oppressed and simultaneously driven to blend in if they wish to not socially perish with those engaging in SM.

My opponent's rebuttals were that I had to prove CC didn't occur before and that enough use SM that way. The first rebuttal is wrong. If I can merely prove that SM has perpetuated CC and escalated it, I can include that as proof of my contention. CC isn't the actual argument though, it was an aiding point. The real point was about division and how it's driven far and severe on SM.

I would like to expand on the 'divide' going further than just views being pressured:
Some respondents predicted that those individuals who are already being left out or disadvantaged by the digital age will fall even further behind as algorithms become more embedded in society. They noted that the capacity to participate in digital life is not universal because fast-evolving digital tools and connections are costly, complicated, difficult to maintain and sometimes have a steep learning curve. And they said algorithmic tools create databased information that categorizes individuals in ways that are often to their disadvantage.

Pete Cranston of Euroforic Services wrote, “Smart(er) new apps and platforms will require people to learn how to understand the nature of the new experience, learn how it is guided by software, and learn to interact with the new environment. That has tended to be followed by a catch-up by people who learn then to game the system, as well as navigate it more speedily and reject experiences that don’t meet expectations or needs. The major risk is that less-regular users, especially those who cluster on one or two sites or platforms, won’t develop that navigational and selection facility and will be at a disadvantage.”
If the current economic order remains in place, then I do not see the growth of data-driven algorithms providing much benefit to anyone outside of the richest in society.
CHRISTOPHER OWENS
Christopher Owens, a community college professor, said, “If the current economic order remains in place, then I do not see the growth of data-driven algorithms providing much benefit to anyone outside of the richest in society.”

Tom Vest, a research scientist, commented, “Algorithms will most benefit the minority of individuals who are consistently ‘preferred’ by algorithms, plus those who are sufficiently technically savvy to understand and manipulate them (usually the same group).”

These proponents argued that “upgrades” often do very little to make crucial and necessary improvements in the public’s experiences. Many are incremental and mostly aimed at increasing revenue streams and keeping the public reputations of technology companies – and their shareholder value – high. An anonymous sociologist at the Social Media Research Foundation commented, “Algorithms make discrimination more efficient and sanitized. Positive impact will be increased profits for organizations able to avoid risk and costs. Negative impacts will be carried by all deemed by algorithms to be risky or less profitable.”

What that means is this; the divide I talked about is more literal and provable than Con perceived. To begin with any journalist that's up-and-coming nowadays has to either work with an extremely well-established corporation or know the system. They have to literally compete with people uploading their dinner meals on the same feed people get their daily News from regarding stuff that actually matters to their local area and the world. They can't really do that so well unless they know the exact tags and ways to structure things to hit the audience hard and fast. 

Let me just stop there a bit to turn things on Con

When something is patently obvious, blatantly true, it follows that it is difficult to prove it as barely anyone has actually done the research and article to prove that link. Almost every single article I found during my research on clickbait and social media addiction has within it a presumption, reasonably held. It is presumed that SM usage habits and the style of it led to people consuming less hard news (which they do now) and far more merging between junk like what your friend is wearing to a party held to equal importance to you, if not more importance, to what your local governor is running on their platform or doing with their position.

Why is it I have to literally prove that SM made this happen when it clearly did? What I can do, however, is explore the harms of SM and it being people's primary source if both immediate issues of high importance and least importance on the brain. I want to explore all my points at once with a fluid series of proofs since my opponent is only saying I lack proof.

The quantity of information that we are exposed to every single day is astounding: we now in 2021 take in five times more information than we did in 1986. With our attention spans eroded to approximately eight seconds in our digital landscape, we have learned that to consume is to skim. Most of the text content is forced to be skipped. The American Press Institute found in 2014 that six in 10 people reported not reading beyond the headline in the past week.

About 73% of Americans report feeling certain degree of information overload, yet we continue to interface with it on a variety of devices and media, both professional and social. 1 It is estimated that the average millennial picks up the smartphone 150 times a day. This is purely technology addiction. In 2008, a statistical study conducted at Scotland’s Dundee University found that adults over the age of 55 who grew up in a household with a black-and-white TV set were more likely to dream in black and white. However, younger participants, who grew up in the age of Technicolor, nearly always experienced their dreams in color. 2 This shows the etching impact of the media over the mind.

The American Psychological Association supported these findings in 2011. Over-usage of technology harms the brain systems connecting emotional processing, attention and decision-making. Another study links anxiety, severe depression, suicide attempts and suicide with the rise in use of smartphones, tablets and other devices.3
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is defined by The New York Times as “the blend of anxiety, inadequacy and irritation that can flare up while skimming social media”. Social media is blasted with pictures and posts of scrumptious dinners, raging parties and enviable travel check-ins.4
countercurrents.org (source 1-4 inside)

When I prove that actual corporations have spend money on experts helping them form crisis plans for any cancel culture hitting them due to any employee's habits in life or SM posts (usually the habits get cancelled for SM posting) I am serious.


This was several months before Andrew Tate was arrested on anything (actually he's being held while they gather evidence in some legal loophole in Romania). Not only could Andrew Tate himself never have been as potent an influence (positive or negative) prior to social media but someone couldn't have been kicked off being the CEO of a team he poured 8 years of passion, money and life into just for partying with Andrew and refusing to stab his friend in the back over being cancelled on SM (that was all that had happened so far).

The idea that you are 'with' those hating him or scum worthy of cancelling is the exact mentality I spoke of.

It isn't just these celebrities that get cancelledif you post anything positive about them, you are at threat.
Con
#4
Forfeited
Round 3
Pro
#5
I made a typo in Round 2 (R2): 'Pro's' is meant to be 'Con's' at the first paragraph. Con's supposed 'constructive' was largely pasting a source that listed what it sees as supposed benefits or plusses of social media (SM). In actuality, for society it is not the boon Con thinks it is.

In my quote from the source about measured percentages and harms, you see me explore something called FOMO. The Fear of Missing Out is not the primary damage, since we are talking about news distribution rather than just socialising or emotions themselves. Nonetheless, the FOMO is a key as to why people get addicted and swayed away from News that matters and hooked onto what others are eating at a party that the people maybe opted to stay in an study rather than go to. What Con assumes is an advantage, is an unhealthy inorganic fusing and mish-mash of the useful parts if SM as an NDP with the shallow, manipualtive ones.

In fact a lot of my original 4 contentions are interlinked. You will notice that the clickbait point and also the social skills points link into the way people no longer care proportional to the relevance nor the writing quality of News but rather how attention-grabbing it is presented. While that is true, what's obviously also true is even if oneself is immune to clickbait slanting, their feed will be filled with friends who at least half or are pumping out silly articles via retweets etc. 'Silly' doesn't always mean playful, you need to imagine how anti-vaxxers spread their news amongst each other and also need to wonder why SM platforms felt the need to crack down on it (which increased the divide).

The real problem of SM's rise as an NDP thus far is this 'fusion' I keep referring to. Your friends become fused into so many areas of your life and the information you take in and express opinions about. They are like a filter in and filter out that you wish you could opt-out of but if you do that, you suddenly are much less included in other things since they're unsure how to let you know that friendship circle is having an event and such. You need to stay hooked to the stuff that doesn't matter or opt to be a recluse, which is an unhealthy ultimatum. This truly did not used to be this way even if Con says 'prove it', Con hasn't proved otherwise.

These 'benefits' are not even written by Con and are an example of the intellectual laziness that has come with SM. That said, I have used quotes too and will semi-respect it, making clear how I'd already rebuked most of Con's unoriginal quote.

While virtual interaction on social media doesn’t have the same psychological benefits as face-to-face contact,
I take that as a partial concession.
there are still many positive ways in which it can help you stay connected and support your wellbeing.
This isn't a societal benefit, rather an individualistic one that may have societal drawback.
Social media enables you to:
  • Communicate and stay up to date with family and friends around the world.
Hence FOMO and the way people are becoming equally if not more concerned with the latest activities of their cousin in another country than the News truly affecting the world.
  • Find new friends and communities; network with other people who share similar interests or ambitions.
This heavily depends how loosely you define SM. This is basically saying a forum of people with common interests with anonymous usernames is equal to SM. I would argue against that on the basis that it's about actual communities not strangers posting troll stuff behind pseudonyms as much. Let me put it this way, this is not SM but when people on this website transition to the off-site Discord and interact there and maybe let each other know who they are and such, that is SM.

I also notice this has nothing at all to with SM as an NDP and was erroneously pasted by Con.

  • Join or promote worthwhile causes; raise awareness on important issues.
You used to 'join' these causes by dedicating actual time, effort, money and expertise to a project and movement. Now, you don't even need to attend a protest or donate, you can just hashtag and virtue signal and you 'feel' included in what you're doing next to nothing for. Maybe that raises awareness but I'd argue this is a neutral point, since it leads to artificial participation.

  • Seek or offer emotional support during tough times.
This could only possibly be done via the non-SM-esque Private Messaging feature on SM platforms. Where people can post anything. Children were exposed to more violent content during Covid-19 than for many years beforehand. That 'violence' wasn't the straightforward violence on a video type thing, it was 'anonymous' discussion boards like Reddit (which Con clearly includes in SM due to a previous point) as well as Twitter. The exposure people have to harmful content and abuse is far more severe now, the exposure to support is somewhat greater but not as much I'd say. You actually can land in trouble more than a good thing since we can assume what you'd come across otherwise would be controlled to not let you come across severe harm generally.
  • Find vital social connection if you live in a remote area, for example, or have limited independence, social anxiety, or are part of a marginalized group.
This divide isn't what Con implied at all. If you notice what I said in Round 2 about how much steeper the climb is as a poor journalist without many connections today, the opposite is true. If you are in a remote (especially rural) area, your Internet connection is generally less stable and the people around you respect your use of it less.
  • Find an outlet for your creativity and self-expression.
This has nothing to do with SM as an NDP and its societal effect.
  • Discover (with care) sources of valuable information and learning.
You can also discover (if not careful enough) plenty of junk sources that influence you.

==

I feel that Con's lack of an actual constructive should be punished by voters

It is not up to me to solely reply to quotes without explanation, I did so anyway just to cover my bases.

I urge all of you to vote Pro here, Con has not at all proven the resolution wrong. I have proven it right along 4 specific angles that Con has barely addressed beyond saying 'prove it prove it'.
Con
#6
Forfeited