The “techlash” phenomenon refers to a growing animus toward large technology companies (a.k.a., “Big Tech”) and to a more generalized opposition to modern technology itself, particularly innovations driven by information technology.(Robert D. Atkinson, 2021) The development of science and technology has made the media evolve into a new media era, and at the same time brought human beings into a new environment for information communication. The new information environment has not had a positive impact on human beings’ ability to understand things except to meet the increasing requirements of human vision, thinking and psychological communication. Instead, fragmentation and more advanced information processing method more conveniently makes human access to information. The ability to think while reading the information which post by large technology companies, not only makes the human way of thinking and evolution, but it will also cause the human to medium dependent greatly improve appear even blindly follow and superstitious worship which generally produce the social order and social problems. At present, it is mainly reflected in uncertain information authenticity and a high rumor occurrence rate(“rumor”, 2021). It leads to self-indulgence and raises moral questions, negative information pollution, and breeds a few aspects of illegal crime.
I. Social problems caused by the development of new media
(1) The authenticity of information is unknown, and the occurrence rate of rumors is high
Under the current situation, the most likely problem is that the media release false news in order to gain the public’s attention. The public’s evaluation of the news media that “a dog biting a man is not news, but a man biting a dog is news” (Bogart et al., 2021) shows the inauthenticity of the information released by the current news media.(BURNS, 2012) Because of the existence of network platform, the threshold of news release is lowered, in order to win the attention of the largest audience among many news media workers. Part of the news media workers don’t abide by their professional ethics, for normal news reports a normal attention are not satisfied, by making up false news and disaster events and strange news to let users to watch the news, the false news in the news media can be divided into the following kinds: out of thin air, handy and shadows.
The first is the most egregious type of false news that misleads the public by making up facts without any basis in reality. The second type is fake news that has some evidence but does not check the source of the evidence and exaggerates the facts. The last type is unverified self-generated fake news with irrelevant snippets of fact.
The consequence of unclear information authenticity is reflected in the audience dimension, which will bring a large number of rumors, especially the new form of rumors brought by the current development of science and technology — network rumors. With the help of different channels, false facts that can attract users’ attention and information that has not been rigorously verified are spread freely, which eventually causes public opinion problems and even leads to the public’s distrust of social moral order and the execution of duties by state organs.
(2) lead to self-indulgence, cause moral problems
New media age the most distinctive feature is the liberation of human nature as well as the maximum value for human to express their emotions, and the existence of the emerging science and technology but also created the network platform, can let people through the way of typing, video and audio in the vast network platform independent published their own views and opinions, to evaluate the social reality.
However, it is precisely because of this excessive scope of freedom that the audience’s releasing nature turns into overindulgence. The emergence of Internet water soldiers and Internet trolls has proved this point. In addition, the lack of fully restricted freedom of speech and self-indulgence make users of many platforms start to show their lives and advantages in various ways. The emergence of various accounts to show off wealth has influenced and changed the ethos of the whole society. Some accounts under the cloak of self-sharing and shopping sharing are actually sharing luxury goods and lifestyle, which gradually stimulate the will of worshiping money of viewers and easily lead to the distortion of teenagers’ values.
(3) Information pollution, breeding illegal crimes
The reform of the new media technology allows each user can be registered as long as the account information, it is this there is no limit to the release of the information freedom leads to all kinds of information is on the network at present, some information of the publishers because of their bad habits or driven release harmful network information caused information pollution, this way of pollution in the main there are two ways: The first is pornography, gambling, drug abuse and other illegal information, and the second is spam that floods consumers and platform users with information.
There is a flood of pornographic information on new media. The Internet Filtering Assessment Agency estimates that there are 4.2 million porn sites around the world that offer hundreds of millions of pages of pornography, or 12 percent of all websites, with an average of 72 million visitors a year.(Ward, 2021) Porn sites account for a quarter of all daily web searches, or 68 million. Every second 28,258 users around the world view pornographic images. Online porn generates $2.5 billion of the $57 billion global porn industry. 51 The virtuality, concealment and accessibility of new media, coupled with the low threshold and high profits of the industry, are easy to cause the spread of bad information and the information pollution of new media.(Kohut Ph.D., 2019)
II. Measures taken by all sectors of society to deal with social problems arising from the development of new media
- The government
Investigations, inspections, trials and enforcement will be strengthened. Due to the anonymity and freedom of information release in the new media environment, it is more difficult for investigation organs to investigate illegal behaviors. Investigation organs should not only introduce advanced investigation technology but also strengthen investigation to prevent information pollution under the worship of new media.
With the popularization of computers and the emergence of new media mobile terminals, Internet cafes are no longer the main places for law enforcement in the era of new media. Cyber policing became the main form of law enforcement. Cyber police search the Internet to prevent and track bad behavior and criminal activity that leaves no trace in a short period of time. Responsible for E-mail, constitutional insults and intimidation; Responsible for the investigation of obscenity, including text and video; Responsible for investigating cyber fraud and other cybercrimes.
- Media practitioners
Media practitioners must ensure that they have sufficient professional knowledge and ability to undertake their responsibilities as public guides and information publishers. If media workers cannot recognize the sacred value of their work and the responsibilities they should undertake, they will not release valuable information. At the same time, it is easy to violate its own responsibility under the drive of illegal interests.
- Relevant industry organizations
Industry group (should) do his lead in the industry members activities in accordance with the law of obligations and develop the industry members release information in accordance with the law and engaged in the work of the news media industry self-discipline norm, because media institution itself has the characteristics of the interests of the chase, so rely on the media institutions themselves to control their own work is not enough, Moreover, the government departments responsible for supervision also cannot supervise in place, so it is necessary to require the industry organizations to fulfill their self-regulatory obligations to regulate the members of the industry.
Bogart, J., Cummings, A., & A, C. (2021). ‘Dog Bites a Man’ Is Not News. ‘Man Bites a Dog’ Is News – Quote Investigator. Quoteinvestigator.com. Retrieved 17 October 2021, from https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/11/22/dog-bites/.
BURNS, J. (2012). Why ‘man bites dog’ is news | Marketing Magazine. Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 17 October 2021, from https://www.marketingmag.com.au/hubs-c/why-man-bites-dog-is-news/.
Kohut Ph.D., T. (2019). What Does “Porn” Mean Anyway?. Psychology Today. Retrieved 17 October 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sex-wars/201903/what-does-porn-mean-anyway.
Pornography. Psychology Today. (2019). Retrieved 17 October 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/pornography.
Robert D. Atkinson, J. (2021). A Policymaker’s Guide to the “Techlash”—What It Is and Why It’s a Threat to Growth and Progress. Itif.org. Retrieved 17 October 2021, from https://itif.org/publications/2019/10/28/policymakers-guide-techlash.
rumor. Dictionary.cambridge.org. (2021). Retrieved 17 October 2021, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/rumor.
Ward, M. (2021). Web porn: Just how much is there?. BBC News. Retrieved 17 October 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-23030090.
Discussing the development of new media produced social problems and countermeasures with techlash by WEIYE ZHENG is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.