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同路人語588 是就說是,不是就說不是

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同路人語588

是就說是,不是就說不是

It is ‘yes’ or ‘no’

剛過去的聯邦大選,社交媒體平台發放虛假訊息成為了時事焦點。

社交媒體平台,為每一個人提供了發放個人訊息的可能。這些訊息的內容是個人言論,並不算是向大眾傳播的訊息,內容的真實性無法確定,全由收到的人自行判斷。

有候選人多年前在社交媒體平台上的言論,被翻出來受到大眾非議,有人因此失去了所屬政黨支持的資格。對有志從政者,以為是朋友之間的生活分享,被掀出來變成了公眾評論的題材。我們無法不去思索,到底我們在今天還有多少私人空間。

其實,社交媒體平台並不是媒體,而是一個人與人之間的訊息傳遞系統。與大眾媒體不一樣的是,社交媒體平台具備不同程度的私人性,卻同時又可以有與大眾媒體相同或更大的影響力。而現今監管大眾傳媒的法規,對它卻是束手無策。例如在微信公眾號你可以發佈訊息,讓關注的人溜覽,並且由他們向朋友圈傳出,在短時間內成為人人皆知的訊息,卻無法知道這訊息是否真實。

大眾傳媒由於影響力大,社會設有不同程度的監管。電台及電視由於佔用公眾頻道資源,政府多以牌照來規範它們要向公眾及社會負責。公眾可以向監管機構提出不滿,從而要求這些媒體所傳播訊息的質素,達到一定的水平。紙媒如報章及雜誌,則可透過誹謗法及廣告監管守則,對具備爭議的內容及真確性加以規範。社交媒體可以傳遞大量的訊息,現時卻是完全沒有監管,通過人與人的關係,廣泛地傳播。

智能手機更使這些社交媒體軟件成為隨身或接近即時性的資訊平台,華人大量使用的微信更在生活各環節中廣泛地被使用,不少人已把微信當作是生活訊息的主要來源。不過更諷剌的原來不少微信使用者,根本不相信這些訊息,在每天所收到收到數以千計的訊息,打開來看的不到百分之一。

結果是我們對身邊發生的事,已無法分辨真偽,不少人漸漸對事情的真相已不再感到興趣,這樣的社會確令人擔憂。

聖經豈不是提出,我們應該要「是就說是,不是就說不是」嗎?那麼社交媒體上的謊言,豈不只是反映我們都要欺騙別人及自己的本質嗎?

 

Spreading of deceitful information through the social media became a matter of concern over the federal election period.

Social media serves everyone to give and gain information. But it is no good if the content are subject to judgement given merely personal opinion unsupported by truth.

Some candidates’ causal comments made in their social network years ago were exposed for public criticism to the effect that they were knocked out in the campaign. It’s a pity that we are getting less and less privacy this age.

 

Indeed social network  is not a formal media but  interpersonal communication channel. Unlike proper public media  social network media   has  its privacy to some extent  yet  could have a widespread impact same as public media. Unfortunately rules governing  public media cannot be enforced on social network. Say in WeChat any information  could be spread in social circles one after another non-stop without anyone in a position to check on the source and reliability of the information.

 

Society has monitoring systems in place to check on public media. Radio and television operating on public air channels are subject to licensing regulations. Operators and the government are obliged to satisfy the public that there is quality control in place. Newspaper and magazine are also subject to regulations governing  defamation and advertisement;  as well as scrutiny on the integrity on the published information. Social network however  can widely spread  out through individuals without any check.

Smartphones and social network apps have made spreading of information too quick too easy. Many Chinese rely too much on WeChat as their daily source of information. Interestingly many of them do not care about them as reportedly only up to 1% of the message bank are opened up for reading.

Eventually we cannot distinguish truth and myth around us. It is very worrying for people to lose interest in finding out the truth because of this.

 

The Bible teaches us “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’”. Deception spread via the social media are lies made to everyone of us.

 

 

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