Instagram's Adam Mosseri Claims That Facebook-owned Social Network Is Not Neutral, Only Apolitical

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has recently taken to Twitter, in an attempt to defend his platform from accusations of maintaining neutrality with regards to the US Capitol riots.

Impartiality is a dangerous word to throw around in the current, tense political environment. Attributed to a jury, the word displays honour and cool-headedness. Attributed to a social media platform, it becomes a substitute for harsher terms such as cowardice or inaction. And such were the associations made with Facebook and its corollary applications, as the company refused to ban or even moderate political discourse on the internet. Be it inflammatory outrage against the BLM movement, or the hilarious factual inaccuracies present in anything Donald Trump let slip from his fingers, everything was fair game.

An entire failed coup later (although the word coup perhaps gives too much credit to what were ultimately the physical ravings of privileged imbeciles), that very inaction has set the internet seething with rage.

Instagram's head, Adam Mosseri, has recently chimed in. Voicing his opinions on the matter via Twitter, he's gone on to refute Instagram's alleged neutrality, stating that no developmental team can really be neutral. He further used the term apolitical to describe himself and his peers, as pertaining to their work on the social media platforms. Which, in the humble opinion of this author, is a lot of window dressing for redefining neutral.

However, let's have a look at both sides of the coin in an attempt to track rationale. Politics is rarely ever a good versus bad debate. There's an entire spectrum of opinions to navigate through, which becomes difficult for a development team responsible for one of the largest social media platforms of all time to delve into. In lieu of that, it does seem like the less inflammatory and more fair approach is to maintain a stance of non-interference.

However, on the flip side, there are very alarming consequences to such behaviour, and they just manifested in the Capitol building on January 6th. Impartiality in the interest of fairness is all well and good, but it's a cheap cop-out from taking responsibility. Free speech is only free when it's direct effects don't result in the active harm and oppression of others. This author exclaiming that he doesn't like Biden, for example, is an exercise in fair speech. This author going on a rampage, citing inaccurate facts in a vehement attempt to disenfranchise their fellow minorities is an exercise in hate speech.

In the meanwhile, other companies have started to crack down on these online sources of dissent, either through the spurring on of their userbase or through genuine realization. Apple and Google removed the extremist right-wing app Parler from their stores, social media sites such as Twitter and Twitch have actively started stoppering hate speech.

Photo Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley
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