Will Social Media Be the Death of Us—Literally?
These days many are justifiably alarmed at the overwhelming data-mining capabilities of our internet behemoths. It was one thing that the NSA and other intelligence agencies knew everything about us -- they had a national security excuse, misplaced as that apparently has become -- but private concerns from Alphabet to Facebook and back to Amazon now have more information about us than we even know ourselves.
Privacy isn't only dead. It's decomposed.
But it's worse. Google used to brag "First do no harm," but they did that big time just the other day -- inadvertent though it may have been. Their acquisition YouTube inspired an obvious sociopath -- Nasim Najafi Aghdam, 39, of San Diego -- to act out wildly, killing one individual and severely wounding several others.
Ms. Aghdam was clearly a highly disturbed individual with delusions of grandeur augmented by a bizarre mishmash of religious and socio-political detritus partially washed up from her native Iran. (She appeared in one posting in a hijab, asking if it made her attractive, alternatively threatening and flirting with her audience.)
The police have said she was angry at YouTube's policies, which are, despite claims to the contrary, largely autocratic and self-interested. But that law-enforcement view is legalistic and perforce overly simple. It is only the most superficial part of the story.
A more important question emerges from this particular horrific event the media is now ignoring because it doesn't fit their tiresome narrative. Would this sociopathic woman have gone on this rampage were it not for the very existence of YouTube or social media in general, no matter what the policies of those organizations?
Ms. Aghdam sat alone in a room, making videos for thousands, even millions, she had never met. Unlike on a film set, she could do much of her work alone, without much, or even any, feedback from colleagues. Few, if any, live people were in evidence.