SNS: Crisis to Be Banned
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SNS: Crisis to Be Banned
  • 김여진 기자
  • 승인 2024.06.24 14:49
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1. What Is Platform Business?

 A platform business refers to a model where operators or suppliers establish a network that allows consumers to participate freely without the constraints of time and space. Manufacturers of smartphones, computers, and gaming consoles provide platforms where various software providers can offer diverse services.

 Similarly, shopping malls offer platforms that encourage a variety of stores to set up shops in a fixed geographical space, enabling consumers to engage in one-stop shopping. Platform businesses have become an essential part of our lives. In recent years, they have exhibited tremendous growth and have become a dominant business model. Representative examples of platform businesses in South Korea include KakaoTalk and Baedal Minjok (Delivery Hero).

 

2. The Issues Arising from Platform Businesses: Whose Responsibility Is It?

 In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where we live amidst rapid technological advancements, clients utilizing services offered by platform businesses have the fundamental rights to access basic information and receive secure protection. Despite these rights, why do issues with platform businesses persist? Whose responsibility is it to protect clients? Management philosophy, consisting of fundamental norms, beliefs, and principles, forms the foundation for ethical and moral standards that guide managerial decisions. It is within this framework that CEOs of social media platforms can be said to bear social and ethical responsibilities towards clients when engaging in managerial activities, including providing and utilizing services.

 The positive and negative aspects of social networking services (SNS) are becoming increasingly evident over time. US senators have strongly criticized the side effects of SNS, emphasizing their impact on people's lives. In fact, this issue has been a topic of concern in recent years, and the rapid increase in victims has led to the current state of affairs where SNS is widely scrutinized.

 On February 1, 2024, a congressional hearing was held in the United States Senate. Platform executives who attended the hearing and appeared as witnesses included Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook and Instagram, Evan Spiegel from Snapchat, Shou Zi Chew from TikTok, Linda Yaccarino from X, and Jason Citron from Discord.

  Criticism was directed primarily at Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, which operates Facebook and Instagram, two platforms that boast the highest number of users worldwide. Over 20 million cases of child sexual exploitation have been reported on Facebook alone. Criticism also referenced internal Meta documents estimating the lifetime value of a teenage user at $270, fueling further condemnation. Zuckerberg expressed remorse, telling victims, "I'm sorry for everything you've gone through," and addressing affected families, he added, "No one should experience what your families have gone through, and that's why we invest so much." He emphasized Meta's investment of over $20 billion since 2016 in safety and security measures. However, he did not address compensation for victims. When asked if his company would take responsibility for the harm it has caused, Zuckerberg reiterated, "Meta's mission is to build industry-leading tools and empower parents," avoiding a direct answer.

 

3. The Benefits and Drawbacks of Social Networking Services (SNS) on Human Relationships

 With the advent of smartphones and the intertwining of SNS such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, a phenomenon akin to an 'SNS boom' has emerged. Countless individuals live in a world where they can connect with virtual friends from anywhere at any time through SNS. However, the more immersed in SNS some individuals become, the more they find themselves plagued by greater loneliness and isolation.

 SNS offers significant benefits to human relationships: The SNS experience varies depending on factors such as a user's number of friends, his or her personality, occupation, and more, making it difficult to quantify how SNS enriches human relationships. However, it cannot be denied that SNS provides modern individuals with opportunities to form extensive networks. SNS serves as a powerful communication tool, making it easy to establish and strengthen connections. Through SNS, existing relationships can become stronger, and it becomes easier to form relationships with strangers and interact with people worldwide. Moreover, SNS helps people from marginalized groups, such as those with disabilities or social anxiety, to form human connections.

 Criticisms have arisen regarding the passivity of SNS relationships and their proximity to 'fantasy.' However, these do not overshadow the advantages of SNS in facilitating extensive networks. While SNS may not necessarily enhance 'close relationships,' it significantly impacts 'weak ties.' Before the advent of SNS, it was challenging to meet individuals with 'weak ties' offline or navigate closed spaces like personal blogs or mini homepages. Consequently, interactions and exchanges of updates were limited. SNS has drastically transformed such relationships, allowing individuals to hear diverse news quickly and share valuable information. Therefore, SNS is considered an effective medium for modern individuals to efficiently form, strengthen, and expand their human relationships.

 SNS does not help human relationships: While SNS has expanded human connections and enabled efficient networking, this expansion is mostly quantitative. Online connections can extend to hundreds or even thousands of people, but SNS does not ensure the qualitative growth of relationships. Relationships on SNS are formal, shallow, fragmented, and easy to establish with just a click or tap. With even slight differences in opinions or preferences, they can be just as easily. In 2011, a survey was conducted among 400 company employees regarding 'communication channels within the workplace.' When asked about 'changes in human relationships due to the development of SNS,' 54% of respondents answered that while the reach of human relationships has widened due to the prevalence of SNS and smartphones, the depth has become shallow. Moreover, according to an article by Herald Economy, 34% of workers are experiencing stress because of SNS. This stress is due not only to concerns about personal information leaking but also to the pressure to respond promptly to messages and the burden of posting. While SNS has eliminated temporal and spatial constraints on communication, increased the volume of communication, and expanded online connections, the content exchanged often boils down to meaningless daily routines such as where one went or what one ate. For these reasons, developing true relationships through SNS is considered difficult.

 

 Given the significant advantages and disadvantages of SNS, social sanctions are necessary to address its double-edged nature. Even after such sanctions are implemented, individuals must use SNS ethically and responsibly. It is crucial to anticipate and mitigate the negative aspects of SNS while expanding its positive potential to ensure it is well-utilized in the modern world.

 


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