Letters to the Editor: October 14, 2021

You can make money and still have a conscience

West Hawaii Today’s Oct. 8 editorial by THe Wall Street Journal pulled out all the stops to defend Facebook’s right to be uncensored and unimpeded in making its profits (which doubled from $40 billion in 2017 to $85 billion in 2020). How convenient to dismiss the impact social media has on the mental health of teenagers. The article itself stated that, “Being in a low or vulnerable state of mind means teens are more vulnerable to the content they see online.” But according to the editorial, that’s not Facebook’s problem. They can’t be expected to solve society’s ills and the government shouldn’t try either.

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I most certainly think the government should curtail and punish any entity that is emotionally, physically or mentally harming human beings in service to their profit. However, the editorial doesn’t think Facebook should have to submit, for review, the algorithms they use to direct a focused and often harmful feed. And why shouldn’t Facebook have to face its “Big Tobacco moment, a moment of reckoning” for the damage they inflict with lies, belligerence and yes, “misinformation”?

But the editorial’s “better idea” is to give users and parents more control over what their kids see. That is a perfectly useless, placating recommendation. Every concerned parent understands that the problem lies within convoluted platforms that can’t always be avoided and believes that Facebook, in good conscience, could eliminate toxic content (and still make money).

Rather than validating the humanistic crisis surrounding the issue, the editorial asserts that this idea of holding Facebook accountable is nothing more than the “opportunism of (Democrat) politicians looking to censor opponents”. I think those of us well aware of how social media preys on vulnerable, confused teens (and adults) can see through that self-serving viewpoint.

Martha Hodges

Kailua-Kona

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Overlooking the illegality

Yes, a person is stupid for buying pharmaceutical drugs from anyone other than a pharmacy. Michael L. Last in his Wednesday letter to the editor overlooks what the illegality was. There is a huge problem from young people who are dying from drugs bought through Snapchat. The problem is that the drugs are not what the person thinks they are. Most are actually Fentanyl, which is a strictly regulated drug used in surgeries only and are potent enough to kill. That is what killed Michael Jackson. Getting Fentanyl when you think it is something else is a fatal mistake. It is illegal to sell opioids without a license and if it kills someone, it can be murder. That is why the seller was arrested.

David Macdonald

Captain Cook

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Letters policy

Letters to the editor should be 300 words or less and will be edited for style and grammar. Longer viewpoint guest columns may not exceed 800 words. Submit online at www.westhawaiitoday.com/?p=118321, via email to letters@westhawaiitoday.com or address them to:

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