License To Post

License To Post

Adrienne BoettingerThursday,25 August 2016

Congress just passed a bill that will require all American users of social media to obtain certification and be registered in a nationwide database before they can post content to any U.S. based social media platform. In a rare bipartisan move, lawmakers said they had to do something “before the whole country lost its goddam mind.” When questioned by members of the media on this extraordinary, freedom-of-speech-limiting motion, Senators and Congresspersons cited widespread public disgust with social media “conversations” gone awry, where involved parties just kept on ignorantly posting comment after enraging, illogical, and uninformed comment until everyone involved had unfriended or blocked the bulk of his or her relatives, former loved ones, and work acquaintances.

As of September 2016, U.S. social media users will have to pass a hand-written examination without the aid of their smartphones or other digital devices. After some serious digging we were able to find a set of sample questions which we are presenting in their original, unedited format below:

1. Have you attempted to determine if the content you are about to post is remotely based in fact or logic?

2. What do you hope to gain by posting the content?

3. Do you honestly think anyone will be swayed by you screaming at them IN ALL CAPS and citing organizations with no integrity or established credibility?

4. Have you really thought this through?

5. Seriously, please think about how people of differing races, cultures, gender, etc. may interpret this terrible thing you are about to post.

6. Do you tend to believe that anyone who thinks differently than you is a) stupid b) insane c) bigoted d) more useless than a bag of toenail clippings or e) all of the above?

7. How many conspiracy websites do you view on a weekly basis?

8. When was the last time you interacted with a live human being who resembled any part of what you are about to post?

9. Do you realize that what you are about to post can never truly be deleted?

After an initial survey of public reaction to these measures we’ve found 30% strongly favor stricter regulation of who is able to broadcast what out to the online masses; 30% strongly oppose any regulation of any kind that limits their ability to post the most terrible, ignorant-ass nonsense they can find; 30% can’t decide how they feel; 30% had wet themselves at the idea of taking a test without their smartphones or access to the Interwebz; and 30% believed that this regulation should only apply to those on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Seriously, friends, we know you’ve learned some exceedingly disturbing things about your relatives, friends, neighbors, coworkers, former classmates and randos you met in some Facebook group and you may want to unfriend, block them, or move completely off the grid and never communicate with humanity again. This has been a rough couple of weeks/months/years. But if we can’t talk about the important issues of our time like security, privacy, civility, racism, sexism, and whether or not people who heat seafood in office microwaves are engaging in workplace terrorism (yes they are), then we will never make progress. If we ignore evidence and logic, or close ourselves off to thinking that deviates from our own, we’re shortchanging ourselves, our children, and our children’s children.

That said, before you post something you know will be disturbing to a specific group of individuals because of their gender, orientation, race, religion, culture, ethnicity, or age, just think: am I being helpful? Am I contributing to a productive online discussion? Am I being unkind? Would I like to see this content tattooed on my personage or engraved on my memorial? Have I shoved my head so far up my ass I can see my own lower intestine?

Then erase what you were originally going to post and just share a video of adorable sloths like this instead. Be like Google, but for realsies, and vow to “[not] be evil.”

Take Action!

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Image Credit: Flickr

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