Remember when swearing was not allowed on TV or radio? Movies would be peppered with bleeps to cover any rude words. We consider it old-fashioned and quaint that nudity was blurred and live footage of violence was edited to avoid seeing the horror of a dead body. Now we live in a world without filters and we are all large consumers of this unfiltered online content. Our social media feeds are filled with an endless stream of content coming from wide-ranging sources.
As more information has come to light about who can buy influence and appear in our feed it has become more obvious that the companies who control a lion share of the Internet are not interested in any control over the content.
The need for a filter
Just a few short months ago I would have strongly protested against any kind of censorship or control over what we can see online. I believe in letting people speak freely. After all, we don’t live in a police state or one that would condone control over our Internet. But now I feel the pressure for some kind of control is mounting. Stories of cyber bullying, foreign governments influencing elections, hate messages and shocking live murders being streamed on our screens demand some action by the giants who provide the platform for this content. But, I am not going to hold my breath that anything will change. If I want to filter what I consume, I need to be the one setting the limits.
As the Internet is by design a place of freedom and by default has become the wild west of content with no filter for decency, it is up to us to create our own filters on what we will consume. I now consciously and without shame set my own morality filters. Knowing that what I click on, watch or share condones the content encourages the creators to make more.
How to create your own filter
Unfortunately, there is no app or program that can provide a personalized filter. It is completely manual and run by us. So here are the instructions for how to install your own morality filter.
- Remove any content from your feed that you do not want to be seeing. You can choose to block the sender, report it or send a message to them asking if they will tone down the content they send to you.
- Learn to distinguish junk sites. When a shocking heading comes up in your feed it begs to be clicked on to find out more. This ‘click-bait’ is designed exactly to get the most clicks to their site. Usually the content is not what the headline implied or it is a completely fabricated story. Just ignore these kinds of adverts; delete, report and move on.
- Don’t share dubious content. We see something shocking and we want to share it or comment on it. If you cannot be sure it is accurate or true, please do not share it. If it is not kind or nice also please don’t share it. We don’t need more divisive content being shared than already is by bots from unknown sources.
- Share this post with others and let’s encourage a little more morality and decency in the wild west of the Internet. Who knows, maybe the giants that rule online will listen to us and join the battle to help clean up the content we see everyday.