Don't Believe Everything that You Read

The people of the United States are upset.  They are upset for many reasons. Some people are upset because their candidate wasn’t elected.  Others are upset at the protesting of the election results.  Regardless of who you voted for, the time since the election has showed us the divide of the country is apparent.

The frustration of that divide has boiled over into the behavior of both sides.  The right, left and middle leaning citizens of this country have voiced their opinion in print and in spoken word. 

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The voting booth was supposed to act as our appointed method for speaking our mind and sharing our beliefs.  However, so many feel like the voting booth let them down.  They have shared their opinions and their frustrations are coming to light through their actions in a mighty way.  You can find petitions being signed to c

hange the Electoral College results, social media has promoted the hashtag of #notmypresident, and protests have swarmed the nation.

Whether you agree with the validity of these actions or not, it is part of the freedom of speech afforded to our country (as long as it’s being done legally).  The frustration of this election has created some to act in ways you may not agree with, but these actions are the results of people desperate to share their hurt and dissatisfaction with others. 

Similar movements caused major positive changes in our nation from slavery to voting rights and other freedoms we are blessed with today.  However, the actions of frustration that could create major positive changes may end up doing the opposite.  One case in particular is the social media handling of free speech.

Google and Facebook have decided to ban fake news sites from advertising on their websites.  Fake news websites create “click-bait” article with false or inaccurate headlines to promote the sharing of articles and to influence opinions of the reader.  However, it is widely believed that fake news sites are mostly trying to create enough traffic to generate revenue for themselves.

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A major thought behind this ban was that these fake news stories influenced voters and had some sort of influence on the Presidential Election.  Fake news stories were a reason, at least partially, that Trump was elected President and those that were frustrated with that result needed to act out.  Banning fake news stories is one way they reacted.

On the surface, we should applaud companies for trying to limit false information from coming into our hands.  None of us should want our opinions to be shaped by false information.  However, what could it lead too? Well, it didn’t take long to find out.

Twitter, another social media website like Facebook, banned several high profile accounts of people from a movement called “alt-right.”  The Alt-Right movement has far-right ideologies that has come under scrutiny for racist and bigoted beliefs.  Which, if you choose to agree with Twitter that “alt-right” is an abusive group, then you might applaud Twitter for banning the accounts of people who might be abusing others in various ways.

While banning types of actions as response to abuse is good to do.  However, if banning is actually a reaction to an election result, disagreement or any other difference creates a major problem.

If we can’t choose what to read, see or listen to influence our opinions how will we create our opinions?

You might say, “This is just a couple of examples and in these situations they needed to be done.”  And I would mostly agree with you.  I don’t want to read or be influenced by fake news stories.  I also don’t want to see abuse of others take place.  However, I also don’t want banning to become a constant reaction of people wanting to show their frustration with action.  Especially, when it comes to free speech.

These types of actions could have a snowball effect that would be difficult to slow.  What if Facebook or Twitter decided to ban all right wing posters -- which is their rights as a company?  What about everyone who supports Clinton?  What about banning you or your favorite celebrity because of a post that included an opinion Twitter doesn’t agree with?  If Social Media has decided to ban some they disagree with, what would stop them from banning anyone they disagreed with?

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The whole point of social media websites are to have the content to be built by the users.  Facebook and Twitter aren’t news sources, in the sense that they create news content, yet they are where many people find their news.  Banning any content based on the opinion of the company opens a can of worms that is hard to put back in.

What if in the next election cycle, instead of fake news articles we are only able to view one sided articles?  Wouldn’t that go against the whole point of social media being content being built by the users.  Where friends and family share thoughts and ideas with one another for the greater good of the country. 

If a social media company wants to have a point of view as an organization, which is absolutely within their rights, then they should create their own content and not ban the content of others.

I do not care what content social media chooses to ban, but if they choose to ban any content it will continue to deepen the divide of this country.  Our country allows us freedom of speech.  We should have the choice of what to read.  We shouldn’t have limits on what we are allowed to say, even if what we are going to say is false.  Even if we disagree with what is being said whole heartedly.

With all of that being said, our best choice on what to read will always be the Holy Bible.  For thousands of years it has provided truth.  It has been banned in places too, but it shouldn’t be.  The Bible, and the information contained within it, has the power to change your life and influence you in a way no fake news story or Twitter post could.

You may have heard that you can’t believe everything that you read. However, that does not apply to the Word of God in the Bible which says:

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17

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Not only is the Bible truth, it will sanctify or change your life in mighty positive ways.  Choose to read the Bible and you will find that no other news site or influential comment on social media will not make a difference to your life.  Whoever is elected President won’t make a difference.  Only your relationship with Jesus Christ will make a difference. 

What you read can change your life, but allowing others to determine for you has the power to destroy you.  Choose life, choose God’s Word.

(photo credit: www.wionews.com)



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