Today I will be talking about how net neutrality absolutely affects one’s ability to be media literate. The National Association for Media Literacy Education defines media literacy: “Access is how, when, where, and how often people have access to the tools, technology, and digital skills necessary to thrive.” The internet and social media have become one of the main sources that we get our news and information from.
In this generation I have seen the impact that social media has had on the mistrust of the media, it has become so easy for “fake news” (misinformation and disinformation) to spread like wildfire over a short period of time. Media companies, such as Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram, etc. know there is a problem, and some have at least tried to take steps in the right direction to fix it, but it’s not enough, and some of it has caused more harm in my opinion.
We have all heard about the algorithms, and now-days I feel as if the term is thrown around and not many people fully understand what it means and what it entails. An algorithm picks up on what a person views and likes on social media, and then shows things that only relate to those topics, and while that can be great, this also creates an echo chamber.
Net neutrality would be extremely similar to the algorithms we see now, but instead of it being based off of what we like and view, it would be based off of what these social media companies want us to see. This is incredibly dangerous for the sake of being media literate. Media literacy requires people being able to access any and all information that will help them find the truth. While that would mean that misinformation and disinformation would be a part of that, it is necessary to allow people to be able to get the entire picture.
This brings me to my last point. It is not only a person’s right to say, or in this case post, whatever they wish, it is also their right to read and learn information from others. While some people care enough to try and fight for the freedom to be uncensored online, there are plenty that either don’t care or don’t even know what is going on. That is why it must fall on those of us that are educated enough on the topic to try and teach those around us as well as fight for the ability to be as media literate as possible.