Just a day after he complained of net neutrality activists crossing their limits during a protest outside his residence, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said social media is playing a catalyst in making todayâ€™s America a â€œmeaner, coarser placeâ€ for politics.
Speaking during the retirement function of Media Instituteâ€™s longtime leader, Patrick Maines, Pai said there are downsides for social media and he, along with his family, has recently been victims of harassment, threats and unfiltered rage propagated through different social media sites.
Demarcating both negative and positive angles of social media, Pai said the medium has played a decisive role in making him a better public servant.
Pai also lauded the recent social media movement the #MeToo campaign stating that it shows how the medium can be used for empowerment and shared his hope that more people use social media judiciously.
He pointed out that social media, which has now become all pervasive, has caused in steady decline in man-to-man interaction, causing fragility in the fabrics of American society that he said was glued through physical interactions rather than in a virtual world.
â€œWhen you shake someoneâ€™s hand, when you look someone in the eye when you actually hear his or her point of view directly, itâ€™s just harder to be nasty. You may disagree, but at least you learn to limit your disagreement within a civilized range. This is healthy,â€ Pai said during his speech.
He added that the anonymity of users on social media is a bane as this makes them nastier during online confrontations.Â In the real world, they will show some restraint as the surroundings make them aware that they live in a civilized society.(is this a quotation.)
â€œI would put in this category the Facebook message I received early this year, from a well-to-do doctor who was a friend-of-a-friend, that called me a bunch of expletivesâ€”and added for good measure that my wife was ugly and fat. And the alleged comedian who recently said Indian-Americans â€œwould like [me] to leave [my] pigment at the door. On the way out,â€ he remembered one such instance.
According to Pai, coinage of the term social media itself was a mistake as it only allows one to keep in touch while maintaining a distance, thus the sphere lacks the genuine understanding that can trigger some of the worst of human impulses.
He said the drive to associate with oneâ€™s own and to exclude the other is one of the biggest aftermaths of social media explosion.Â He asked the audience to visit a college campus wearing a â€œMake America Great Againâ€ hat to understand how serious the situation has become.
Last week, Paiâ€™s said he is considering rolling back the net neutrality regulations enacted by the Obama administration by providing the right to internet companies to decide which websites their customers can see and use.
Â â€œIt certainly crosses a line with me,â€ Pai told Fox Newsâ€™ â€œFox & Friendsâ€ on Monday. â€œFamilies â€¦ should remain out of it and stop harassing us at our homes. â€¦ It was a little nerve-racking, especially for my wife whoâ€™s not involved in this space,â€ he added.