Social media Big Tech giants like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook are under some tough scrutiny and for good reason.
In the last few weeks, investigative teams at The Wall Street Journal have published several major stories on Big Tech’s targeting strategies and their impact on young people. As Kyle Bass, founder and principal of Hayman Capital Management, LP told CNBC’s Squawk Box, “Tiktok’s algorithm can influence the thinking of U.S. youth.”
In fact, as part of its investigation, The Wall Street Journal created dozens of fictional profile accounts on TikTok and found the company’s algorithms not only could predict users’ likes and wants, but in some cases, the systems guided users to some very deviant content.
An analysis of the videos served to these accounts found that through its powerful algorithms, TikTok can quickly drive minors—among the biggest users of the app—into endless spools of content about sex and drugs.
TikTok served one account registered as a 13-year-old at least 569 videos about drug use, references to cocaine and meth addiction, and promotional videos for online sales of drug products and paraphernalia. Hundreds of similar videos appeared in the feeds of the Journal’s other minor accounts.
TikTok also showed the Journal’s teenage users more than 100 videos from accounts recommending paid pornography sites and sex shops. Thousands of others were from creators who labeled their content as for adults only.
Still others encouraged eating disorders and glorified alcohol, including depictions of drinking and driving and of drinking games.
Other accounts ended up lost in “rabbit holes” of content about depression, eating disorders, sexualizing minors and even discussions of suicide.
For 19 years – ever since that dreadful Tuesday morning when terrorists attacked America on our own soil – we’ve marked each anniversary with the words Never Forget.
That phrase takes you back to exactly where you were on September 11, 2001.
You can remember the horrific images on your TV. You can still feel the tension in your stomach and jaw. You truly will never forget the fear that coursed through your veins every time you think back to that terrible day. The shock. The uncertainty. The anger. The sadness.
Now, 20 years later, the world that we know is so much different than it was on September 10, 2001. An entire generation has now grown up in a “Post 9/11 World.” Keep in mind that many of today’s college students weren’t even born that day. With that startling reality in mind, so many are searching for new ways to help current and future generations understand the magnitude of that Tuesday that shook us to our core and changed America forever.
On this 20th anniversary, perhaps the time has come for us to reframe the mental and emotional construct that has helped us view that day. Instead of the negative connotation that we’ve carried in the phrase Never Forget, now is the perfect time for us to raise up a Next American Generation that will Always Remember.
We must teach them to Remember that our freedoms aren’t free. We must teach them to Remember the sacrifice of the brave men and women who gave their lives running into the burning World Trade Centers, who rescued countless military personnel at the Pentagon, and who decreed “Let’s roll” as they overtook Flight 93 and died as heroes in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
We must give hope to the America of tomorrow by Remembering what happened on that Tuesday morning and who it made us to be.
September 11th cannot be another date on the calendar.
Much like Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th, 1941 became another passed-by marker in American history, we must be vigilant to ensure that we Always Remember 9/11.
You can do this by sharing your “story” with friends and family. As the students at Bob Jones University in Greenville did, you can plant American flags to remember the 2,977 souls that were taken from us that day. You can take your children and grandchildren to a prayer service at your church to commemorate the day.
No matter what we say or do this weekend to honor the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we must instill the passion in ours and the next generation to Always Remember.
This past Wednesday, the Texas “Heartbeat Law” went into effect as the law of the land in the Lone Star State. Many here in South Carolina, are wondering what that means for our very own Fetal Heartbeat Bill signed into law by Governor Henry McMaster back in February. There are 2 areas of difference between the Texas case and ours here in the Palmetto State.
First, the language in the laws is different. This plays a major factor in how those bills made their way through the legislative process and what happens to those bills once signed into law. In this case, the differences in the wording within the Texas and South Carolina laws will create different avenues within the judicial system as both cases will be heard by the court.
The answer is in the first line of the Texas bill that passed: “AN ACT relating to abortion, including abortions after detection of an unborn child’s heartbeat; authorizing a private civil right of action.”
The new Texas law deals with Civil penalty, not Criminal Law. Civil and Criminal courts, laws, penalties and standards for determining guilt (or liability) or innocence are very different from each other. In Civil Court, a plaintiff can sue anyone who may have contributed the “harm” incurred. That’s why the Texas law allows the plaintiff to name the doctor, the nurse, the clinic, the secretary, or the person who drove the abortion recipient to the abortion clinic.
What makes this different from other attempts to limit abortion?
A number of states have introduced fetal heartbeat bills, but until now, they have been blocked by the courts. While the Texas Heartbeat Act’s aim is similar to the other heartbeat bills, the enforcement mechanisms are different.
The law takes a novel legal approach to limit abortion by tasking enforcement of the measure “exclusively through private civil actions.” Essentially, the law allows any private citizen to bring a civil lawsuit against any individual who “performs or induces” an abortion, or “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets” an abortion, including the payment for or reimbursing the costs for an abortion. Individuals who prevail in their lawsuit will be awarded “statutory damages in an amount of not less than $10,000.”
Rebecca Parma, a senior legislative associate with Texas Right to Life, notes, “No heartbeat law passed by another state has taken this strategy. Additionally, the bill does not punish women who obtain abortions.”
Knowing that the laws are different in their language, we must also consider the courts in which these cases will be heard. Texas is in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, while South Carolina finds itself in the second most liberal appellate court in the US — The 4th. Because these 2 courts are different both in geography and the makeup of the judges on their benches, these 2 cases will be heard differently.
According to the order signed by five justices, “The applicants now before us have raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issue. But their application also presents complex and novel antecedent procedural questions on which they have not carried their burden,” the majority wrote.
All of this means that, while very little of what is happening in Texas affects South Carolina there are 2 key takeaways. All eyes are on the Mississippi Law that the Supreme Court will hear later this year. Theirs is expected to be the precedent setting case that could be used to overturn Roe v. Wade. We need to pray for those justices as they hear this case and offer their opinion. Secondly when the legislature returns in January, South Carolina has the opportunity to pass a “Trigger Law” which would effectively end all abortions in our state when Roe v. Wade is overturned.
You can visit the State House website to contact your legislators and ask them to support the life of the unborn.
To hear more about this issue from our Palmetto Family Team, listen to the Palmetto Family Matters Podcast where we walk through the Texas and South Carolina laws in much greater detail.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27
When James, the brother of Jesus, wrote these words, it was a call for believers to step up and clearly meet a genuine need that existed within the community – to care for the orphans and widows.
Some two millennia later, the call of the “Big ‘C’ Church” has not changed. We are still to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a world that desperately needs not only to hear the Gospel, but see it demonstrated.
One place this need is readily apparent is in our foster care and adoption communities in South Carolina. Our state has more than 4,000 children currently in foster care with some 800 that could be adopted.
While not everyone is called to meet this demand as a foster or adoptive parent, the Church has numerous opportunities to serve the foster care and adoption community. Things like:
Clothing drives for children
Backpacks for students in foster care
Supports for parents who are fostering or going through adoption
Creating family visitation rooms within local churches where biological and foster families can meet, creating opportunities for parents and their children to bond during the fostering period
Hosting luncheons for social workers who are carrying caseloads of children and families who are, all too often, in crisis.
The list can go on and on because the needs are ever present.
At Palmetto Family, we believe that foster care and adoption are truly pro-life issues, and we are working with Governor Henry McMaster to bring these issues to the forefront.
For the last several months, we have hosted a series of Foster Care & Adoption Task Force meetings to outline strategies to address the demands that our communities across the state are facing. Those meetings have included folks from across our state with experience and expertise in the “system” who are working in conjunction with SC Department of Social Services to bring recommendations and solutions to the table to meet needs in local communities.
This work will culminate on October 14th with the first Governor’s Summit on Foster Care and Adoption – Bringing Practical Solutions for the Palmetto State.
If foster care and adoption are important issues to you, we welcome your involvement with us as we work to bring strategies and solutions to the table. Please let us know who you are, and we look forward to involving you in our efforts to meet these needs.
Palmetto Family Council board member, Pastor Bill Monroe of Florence Baptist Temple, recently preached a sermon outlining the Four Pillars of Society — God, Family, Government and the Church — and how they are built from a biblical worldview.