This time, the battle is reversed between Facebook and US President Joe Biden.
I say reversed because former President Donald Trump had gone into a similar battle with Facebook in the last days of his Presidency, when the website accused him of misusing his account on the platform to incite his supporters to raid the Capitol building on 6 January.
That battle had ended with the suspension of Trump’s account for six months, then two years, subject to a third renewal.
At the time, Trump was the accused and Facebook the accuser. When the accused was proven guilty, he received his due punishment. All his big talk and retorts to the accusation proved futile. Within a few seconds, he disappeared from the virtual world, nowhere to be found. Gone were the days when he directed his followers -- who were in the millions -- like a maestro directs an opera on stage!
Biden, for his part, took the opposite road. He is on the offensive and Facebook is the accused. According to the US President, the website is guilty of “killing people” by publishing misleading information on COVID-19 and leading many people to refrain from getting vaccinated; as such, Facebook is to be blamed for the death of many of these people due to COVID-19!
Experience suggests that what Biden is saying is mostly true. The flaws and sins of Facebook and other social media websites have overshadowed and surpassed their benefits, and the victims of these shortcomings are constantly on the rise.
Social media’s biggest sin is that it destroyed media as we know it and replaced it with information outlets that fail to understand -- let alone practice -- responsible media, thus violating the sacred rule of “no media without responsibility.” Case in point: Donald Trump.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, the Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm.