How can we keep it clean?

Our society, that is.

Today I want to share an article from Wired Magazine about a very important topic that may be a little sensitive for younger readers, but university students are old enough to think about it.

We may think that some of the images (and comments) we see on the internet are inappropriate or even offensive. But this story explains that we don’t end up seeing most of what’s really “out there”. We may also think that there’s some great algorithm that allows social media sites to edit out everything we don’t want to see, but according to the article, humans are doing it. And they’re not getting paid very well. Read about it here:

“The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed”

You can listen to an interview with the author of this article on Slate’s Culture Gabfest. He appears in the last third of this episode (starting at the 33’35” mark): “The Culture Gabfest “Watching the Watchers Do the Watching” Edition”

I thought about this topic because of something that I saw on the train the other day. The young man next to me was watching violent porn on his smart phone. I didn’t mean to look, but he was holding his phone near his knees — to make it easy for people around him to see? (Or maybe he just needs glasses.) Anyway, I was uncomfortable and I moved seats. But I wondered why he would do that on a crowded train. I’ve seen lots of men (never women…) reading pornographic manga on trains before, but this was the first time for me to see someone watching porn videos.

In the interview with the author of the article, someone wonders aloud: Maybe society should be seeing all these inappropriate and offensive images? If they are hidden from us, we’ll continue to believe they don’t exist.

Maybe the solution is not about censoring such photos and videos, but about creating a society where people don’t feel compelled to share them?

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