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Facebook worries Go, Joe, Go

Social media platforms are siphoning ad dollars from local media outlets while they enjoy liability protection for what’s posted on their platforms. Call me ticked. In the old days, circa 1990s, social media was not even a dot on the radar as the web continued to expand. Now, big-name players like Facebook almost rule the world in terms of what information, misinformation gets disseminated, helping lower the collective IQ of the U.S. in many cases. Myspace, for example, the pre-runner to Facebook, was founded in 2003. Facebook came along a year later, and quickly, relatively speaking, overtook Myspace, which lost all of its user content in 2015, thanks to a botched server migration, with no backup (duh). More than 12 years of users’ content was permanently lost. Meanwhile, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, 36 years old, is worth approximately $108 billion. These days, the number of social-media platforms seems to continue to grow on a monthly basis. One day, for example, no one has ever heard of Tik Tok, and the next day, everyone has heard about it except me, and I’m in the news business. For those who may not know, 24 years ago, some elected feds in Congress -- presumably after a late night spent at the local Gentleman’s Club where lap dances were being advertised for half price -- crafted what was to become known as Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. Like most things in the federal realm, its name has little to do with its intent. Under the new law, online companies like Facebook are protected from lawsuits when it comes to what users post on their respective platforms. In other words, they are not responsible for any and all lies that are posted. Even the ones that may ruin the life of an innocent person. Meaning, social-media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or more importantly, the billionaires who own them, have nothing to worry about if outright lies, libel, fabrications are posted on their sites. The politicians from both parties who made Section 230 law hailed its passage as protecting “Free Speech,” when in fact, it allowed anonymous posters to post anything, whether it be truthful or not. Legit news outlets don’t have that protection. Some people gripe about negative ads. What they don’t see are the ads, some of their content, that never make it into the pages of this newspaper and other news outlets as well. Yet,

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