One industry that is expected to see much change as the administration in the US White House changes out is technology. As not only an industry sector but also as a tool for the public and a policy. The relationship between the government and social media, communication apps, and surveillance technologies in the world have changed vastly during the Trump administration. The sudden increase in the role of live-streaming events, whether they be violent riots and protests, or current events can’t be ignored anymore as we have the power as a society to access information from any time, anywhere just by pulling out our smartphones.
The role of technology during the Trump administration has certainly been darkened and undermined. Technologies and techniques that were meant to publicize and open doors for democracy were equally used for spreading falsehood, fake news, discrediting valid sources, and promoting hatred, violence, and racism. These actions have shown how technology itself isn’t rather bad, but it depends on the wielder. And all-in-all the wider implications of using technology have not been seen. With proper attention to the personal and ulterior motive some individuals have in using technology, we could have prepared for what had happened.
In the wake of the capital riots this past week, President Trump and other individuals have been permanently banned and stripped of their rights to be users on various social media platforms. Other communication apps that were associated with the far-right party, such as Parler, were de-platformed and removed from app stores as well as various hosting sites. This is a critical moment for democracy, and for that fact, free speech, technology, and the rights of the people. There are many arguments for and against these actions. Should we be silencing the voice of free speech? Did the administrative and favoritism from private companies go overboard with these recent events? Should these violence-inciting politicians take responsibility for their inhumane and personally driven-actions?
With these events that have happened, we are no longer able to ignore the idle words of people who hold influence and power on social media. These sites are no longer a location for someone to just voice their opinion, but rather hotspots for influencing the public’s mindset. And with the issuing of the Biden administration, we will need to keep our eyes peeled with how the influence and impact of technology and social media will be taken into consideration.
Lucas Zhang was a Finance major at Ohio State University. He writes about finance, mortgages, and technology for Irish Mortgage Brokers.