The decision of the UK radio station Talk Sport Radio to ban mentions of Twitter on its radio shows might have long term far reaching consequences to the social media industry.
The bosses of the popular station took a decision to bar mentions of Twitter after one of the presenters, Stan Collymor became the subject of horrendous racist abuse and death threats.
This decision was brave and if followed through it could signal the beginning of a movement that will give a whole new meaning to the term ‘corporate social responsibility’.
Station bosses want Twitter to act more robustly toward users who abuse and threaten other users on its platform.
Arguably, Twitter as a corporation has a moral and a financial duty to protect the golden goose that keeps it afloat (its users) in a similar way that coffee chains like Starbucks are obliged to look after the well-being of coffee farmers and oil producers such as Shell are duty bound to protect the environment from which they extract highly profitable oil and gas.
Corporate social responsibility might no longer be a term that refers to saving the rain forest or to paying coffee farmers a minimum wage. The term could soon become even more meaningful .
Social media users are like the coffee farmers but only in the sense that they both do all the hard work in return for very little. Social media users work for their masters by producing never-ending internet content and by constantly engaging in attempts to form false relationships with one another. Social media sites cannot exist without users but unlike coffee farmers, social media users don’t get paid for their labour and they don’t enjoy basic civil rights or state protection of any sort. All they get in return for their labour is the ‘right’ to perform unpaid work from cradle to grave. This is troubling reality particularly because many users are young children who often experience mental and sexual exploitation through social media.
You will be forgiven therefore if you arrive at the conclusion that social media users are worst-off than coffee farmers. Social media users are more like cyber-slaves andTalk Sport Radio’s decision to ban Twitter from its shows should be a wake-up call to those corporations who hold them as such.
By: Yair Cohen