We’ve been asked many times why we don’t have much social media presence and the answer is very simple: we don’t agree with the principle of unbridled or biased ‘news’ platforms. That’s the same reason we would never have dealings with any arm of the Murdoch organisation.
Now, we doubt very much that any social media company is the slightest bit concerned with our position, but more people are agreeing with us, every day.
Our grievance is that these platforms can display any information or mis-information that they like, without any responsibility for its content. Every publishing house, whether on-line or print is responsible for what it puts in voice, print, video or photography, yet social media sites are not. Why?
In January 2021 we had the clearest case of the need for regulation of these social media platforms, when a mob invaded the US Capitol building. That was the culmination of years of irresponsible content on social media and in the Murdoch press and TV content.
Murdoch backed off its bogus ‘election fraud’ claims only when threatened with legal action by makers of electoral vote counting machines. Even more calculated was Facebook’s banning of the Trump account. The timing makes it look like reaction to the appalling House invasion that Trump instigated, but the real reason is that the Georgia election made it obvious to Zuckerberg that the Democrats would soon control both US houses and the presidency: time to cozy up to the incoming administration.
It’s patently obvious that these vastly money-raking social media sites need to have the same rules applied to them as apply to every other form of publishing. They should not be able to spruik anything they like and get away with it.
Their lame defence is that they’re not publishers, just conduits for expression of people’s views. If someone posts incendiary, inflammatory, criminal, defamatory, untrue or vile opinions, it’s not the fault of social media platforms. Well, it should be, just as it is with other forms of publishing.
Legitimate journos in search of the truth need to be sure of their facts, especially in Australia, where our draconian defamation and slander laws insist that truth alone isn’t sufficient reason for publishing. How do you think we all feel when we see social media able to display anything, without fear of reprisal?
The OTA website has well over a million page views every year, so the news of our unbiased, honest reporting seems to get around, without the ‘help’ of Facebook, Twitter and others.
However, one of our younger team members has convinced us to try some Instagram posts, to connect with younger off-road fans, so we’ll see how that works through 2021.