Redes sociais são boas, mas podem melhorar

Caso envolvendo restrições às redes sociais de Trump mostra que as empresas de tecnologia
devem ter papel mais proativo no combate ao discurso de ódio em suas plataformas

Por Melissa Rocha
melissa.rocha@mulheresjornalistas.com

As restrições impostas por empresas de tecnologia às redes sociais do presidente americano Donald Trump jogaram luz no debate sobre a necessidade de aprimoramento das mídias sociais. 

No início da década passada, a ascensão das redes sociais digitais varreu o mundo, dando início a uma nova forma de se comunicar. Na esteira do extinto Orkut, plataformas como Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp e Instagram ajudaram a aproximar amigos e familiares com os quais tínhamos perdido contato ou que moram longe. Essa nova tecnologia trouxe também uma forma mais dinâmica de trocar informações. A impressão que se tinha é de que alcançamos um novo patamar na comunicação, e daí por diante apenas evoluiríamos. 

Mas há uma famosa frase que diz “Com grandes poderes, vêm grandes responsabilidades” – que data da época da Revolução Francesa, embora, hoje, seja mais atribuída aos quadrinhos do Homem-Aranha. No caso das redes sociais, essa responsabilidade deveria vir na forma de um maior escrutínio das empresas de tecnologia sobre conteúdos postados. 

Hoje, o calcanhar de Aquiles das redes sociais é o uso dessas plataformas por grupos que divulgam desinformação e discurso de ódio. Esses grupos tentam desestabilizar democracias e espalham deliberadamente conteúdos falsos ou distorcidos, no intuito de manipular a opinião pública. Essa tática vil é particularmente tóxica em sociedades polarizadas politicamente, como os EUA e o Brasil. 

Boa parte desse conteúdo tóxico chega ao usuário em forma de vídeos e páginas sugeridas pela própria rede – um mecanismo chamado de algoritmo, que rastreia o perfil da pessoa para oferecer conteúdos alinhados ao seu perfil. A princípio, o método parece uma forma de personalizar a experiência na rede. Porém, ele traz como efeito colateral a armadilha do filtro-bolha, quando a pessoa recebe apenas conteúdos que reforçam suas próprias opiniões. Se levarmos em conta que atravessamos a era da pós-verdade, onde crenças se tornaram mais importantes que os fatos, concluímos que esse mecanismo contribui em muito para a radicalização do discurso. 

Com base nisso, governos ao redor do mundo passaram a cobrar das empresas de tecnologia uma maior responsabilização pelos conteúdos postados. Vale destacar que essa cobrança nada tem a ver com censura, mas sim com uma busca pelo aprimoramento das redes sociais, uma maneira de impedir que essas plataformas sejam usadas como incubadoras e difusoras de desinformação e discurso de ódio. 

Não há dúvidas sobre a contribuição que as redes sociais trouxeram para a comunicação, tanto pessoal como educacional e profissional. Além de aproximar pessoas, elas têm um papel importante na divulgação de veículos que têm como proposta construir um jornalismo de qualidade – como o próprio Instituto Mulheres Jornalistas.

Elas também servem como canais para divulgar conteúdos educacionais, como, por exemplo, o Portal Educação, que oferece uma gama de cursos profissionalizantes, com aulas via YouTube. Elas também servem como difusoras de uma miríade de tutoriais, que oferecem dicas sobre os mais diversos assuntos. No aspecto mais pessoal, elas servem de locais de troca de experiência e de formação de grupos de pessoas que enfrentam alguma doença ou passaram por algum trauma e buscam encontrar pessoas que entendem sua situação. Elas também servem como locais de debates sobre livros, séries e filmes, ampliando o alcance da cultura.

É exatamente por conta dessa importância que as empresas de tecnologia do Vale do Silício devem aprimorar o escrutínio sobre a difusão de desinformação e conteúdos tóxicos, de forma a garantir que as redes cumpram sua função primordial, que é conectar pessoas, não dividi-las. 

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