THE capacity of social media to influence events, as the need for strengthened telecommunications legislation discussed above shows, seems almost limitless.
And, in the nature of every human activity, it is not always perfect. In recent weeks, an innocent man was incorrectly described by an online publication as a threat to children. The man’s photograph was published and he had to get Garda protection from the mob. Apart from showing how close to the surface our base instincts lie, this displays the vulnerability of innocent people to online attack.
The Press Council has pointed out that KildareNow, an online-only service for Kildare, does not observe its voluntary code of conduct, one designed to protect those mistreated by media. The council also suggests that unless social media sites establish an independent regulatory body to manage these issues, one should be imposed by government. The interface between society and online fantasy is the frontline in a battle for social stability and individual security. We must legislate to control this runaway force.
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