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  1. The Toxic Environment of Facebook – Proposal

    August 3, 2018 by Evan Harvey

    Evan Harvey

    Professor Green



    The Toxic Environment of Facebook – Proposal

    Social media is an evolving place seen as a digital public forum where anyone’s and everyone’s opinion can be heard, and people can stay connected to whomever they want. For the most part, social media can be a positive experience for many people who want to keep up with friends, see the news in a convenient place, or check up on how their favorite celebrities are doing. There is however a dark side of social media, one mired in hate, scams, and controversy that needs to be addressed. Many laws and regulations haven’t caught up yet with how to handle the likes of social media, so it falls upon the company itself to control their site and its users. One of the biggest areas people will congregate to is Facebook and thus starting there can make a good example for other social media sites to follow. Facebook should increase their regulation on what comments or posts are allowed to be made and expand their programs to deal with fake accounts in order to help stop the spread of hate and bigotry on their site.

    It’s very apparent that within today’s society it is easier than ever to get your opinions heard but this has also created the unsavory effect of allowing hate to spread as well. One doesn’t have to look any further than the comment section on a news article on Facebook to get a glimpse of how bad it can be. An example can be seen of this from a recent CNN article that was focused on the topic of a new barbie doll being made inspired by an Olympic fencer with a hijab. One of the comments regarding this is “Each doll comes complete with hijab and sword, bomb pack sold separately. Free copy of the Koran with each purchase” (Donailson). This type of message is not only overwhelming offensive but also served to start a lot of controversy in the replies to this comment. How can posts like these be made and yet nothing can be done about it. There is an aspect that, yes, this is the first amendment, but this is a pure attack on an entire race of people, it’s not like it even adds to the conversation it resembles that of a bully in school. This is simply one comment out of many, you can check major news pages like Fox and CNN and see people throwing ridiculous verbal attacks from one side to the other, making the public even more decisive than it already is. While these tirades can be made by regular people, there are some accounts whose sole purpose is to spread hate, and they aren’t even real people.

    One important aspect that has helped egg on the recent controversies stirring up on many of the social media platforms is fake accounts. Fake accounts are just what they sound like, accounts with no real identity to them meant to usually fulfill a single purpose whether it be to attempt to scam people or just to cause as much chaos as possible. This was most apparent during the electoral season between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton where certain countries like Russia had begun to invade social media trying to denounce the democratic party and stir as much controversy as possible between the two and is something they are actively still doing to this day. This can be seen from a recent article by Recode where it points out how “Facebook disabled nearly 1.3 billion “fake” accounts over the past two quarters . . . a reminder of what Facebook is up against just 18 months ago after it was learned that a Russian troll farm used Facebook to try and influence the 2016 presidential election”(Wagner, Molla). This a significant example of how social media can go wrong when a foreign nation can directly influence the results of an election without having to even pull complicated tactics. The idea is simple, and it works because many individuals see these comments and have many different reactions to it, but those reactions can conflict with each other and then a full-blown argument can start to occur within the comment section. It’s scary to think that something not even real can have so much influence on current events and while Facebook does try to deal with these fake accounts, it isn’t doing it enough. According to an article from the New York Times “Despite months of talk about the problem of fraud facing Facebook and other tech companies, and vows to root it out, their sites remain infected by obvious counterfeits” (Shane, Issac). If we are going to create a friendlier environment that can unify people instead of dividing them, then issue needs to be addressed.

    The way these issues can be solved ultimately comes down to how much effort Facebook is willing to put in to creating a better platform. Starting with the first problem, the general spreading of hate by people, there needs to be stronger regulations, the ability to spread awareness, and an overall better system for reporting. What that would entail is Facebook would clearly advertise what is the right kind of content to be shared and the wrong kind, this would mean taking some of their ad spaces and putting more tips into what post people should think about before actually putting them up for everyone to see. In the regulations side it needs to be clearly defined what is not acceptable to post on this platform, the comment about the hijab doll coming with a bomb and many posts included within this as examples. The report system also needs a great overhaul because it’s not serving the original purpose it had. An article by the Verge gives an example of how the system can be abused, with “The strategy is simple – rack up enough abuse reports to knock the site off Facebook, effectively cutting it off from its audience,” which was used to target journalist within Vietnam (Brandom). This was not what the report button was meant to do before and instead of dealing with these terrible attacks, its used to cut out journalism who are trying to get the truth out there.

    As for dealing with Fake accounts, the only real solution to this is having a facial recognition system that actually works. Facebook already has this system in place but as described by the Chicago Tribune, “ after The Post presented Facebook with a list of numerous fake accounts, the company revealed that its system is much less effective than previously advertised: The tool looks only for impostors within a user’s circle of friends and friends of friends – not the site’s 2-billion-user network, where the vast majority of doppelganger accounts are likely born” (Harwell). The quote makes a very important point, the facial recognition system only works with that person’s friends, and there is no reason a fake account trying to be an imposter of someone would ever friend it’s the original owner of its identity. In that sense the system effectively does nothing at all to counter the distinct fake accounts that are causing so much controversy so in that sense that’s why the systems need to be expended to hit all of Facebook, not just some. Of course, this would bring up possible severe problems of privacy, so it should primarily be an Opt-in system that users can agree too that helps make sure no one is impersonating them. This won’t get all of the fake accounts because not everyone will opt-in but any amount in this matter helps either way.

    Now with all of this, there is one glaring issue people could have when in regard to targeting fake accounts and vicious comments, freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is one of the biggest things that allow people to voice whatever opinion they want, even including those of hate groups, and has been a large debate for significant amount of time. While there was a supreme court decision that social media sites weren’t allowed to bar people from their sites in Packingham v. North Carolina, There is an important distinction to be made here. Facebook still has the power to regulate pages and comments because at the end of the day it’s a private corporation. They even say they have this power, noted by the New York Times with “But social media sites are not bound by the First Amendment to protect user speech. Facebook’s mission statement says as much, with its commitment to “remove bad actors and their content quickly to keep a positive and safe environment” (Kaminski, Klonick). They have every right to be able to take down speech seen as blatant attacks on others or comments trying to cause in a sense chaos. In regard to fake accounts, that’s not even allowed in the first place within their terms of service. There is a fear of letting Facebook decide what is and isn’t hate speech but for the most part it’s better to do something than just nothing at all.

    Fake accounts and hate has been spreading throughout Facebook and other social media sites that requires more attention than ever before. Today’s society has become one of the most divisive in recent times as with the popularization of social media, which because of these destructive forces of fake accounts is being used to cause even more of a divide. We are supposed to be a proud nation, but we have slowly devolved into something else. While this won’t fix the issue of hate by a long shot, doing something is better than nothing and more regulation for what can be shown on social media is a good start towards it.




    Brandom, Russel. “Facebook’s Report Abuse button has become a tool of global oppression.”    The Verge,  button-has-become-a-tool-of-global-oppression.  Accessed 30 July 2018.

    Donailson, Carlos. Comment on “For the first time ever, Barbie is wearing a hijab. The new doll          is modeled after Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad and is part of broader effort by         Mattel to diversify the Barbie line.” CNN, July 30 2018, 4:30 p.m.,

    Harwell, Drew. “Facebook crackdown on fake accounts isn’t solving the problem for everyone.”                  Chicago Tribune,         accounts-20180504-story.html. Accessed 30 July 2018.

    Kaminski, Margot, and Kate Klonick. “Facebook, Free Expression and the Power of a Leak.” The New York Times,    amendment-leaks-free-speech.html. Accessed 2 August 2018.

    Shane, Scott, and Mike Issac, “Facebook Says It’s Policing Fake Accounts. But They’re Still     Easy to Spot.” The New York Times,                Accessed 30 July 2018.

    Wagner, Kurt, and Rami Molla. “Facebook has disabled almost 1.3 billion fake accounts over the past six months.” Recode, Accessed 30 July 2018.


  2. Op-Ed

    August 3, 2018 by Evan Harvey


    The Travesties of Kickstarter

    Evan Harvey, Guest                      June 19th, 2018, 9:00 pm

    The First Travesty

    Many projects on Kickstarter present the consumer with an idealized product in the beginning they hope to achieve.  One of the first problems presented by Kickstarter is the aspect that, for the most part, there is nothing you can really do to effect development of the product and there is no guarantee it will live up to any expectations the developer creates around it.

    The creator makes a fancy presentation about all the wonderful things it will do to help you and the others willing to donate to the cause. They constantly throw out buzz words in order to entice the user that this is going to be something that changes their life, and perhaps the creator does have genuinely good intentions, but there have been too many products that simply don’t live up to the expectations thrusted upon it.

    There are numerous examples of failed Kickstarter projects even though they made their goal and for some even produced the product. One example of this revolves around the game Mighty No. 9 which had been in development for over five years before its release. It had reached its Kickstarter goal very early when it was created, but in a Kotaku article, “After a series of frustrating delays,” it goes to give the developers point of view of why the game had turned out so badly, going on to say “I’m kind of loath to say this because it’s going to sound like an excuse and I don’t want to make any excuses. I own all the problems that came with this game” (Klepek). The release had turned out to be an absolute disaster, many consumers had felt duped by the words and façade displayed by its creator because this interview revealed they knew the quality of game they were going to produced yet instead abused the hype built around the project and made it out as something it’s not.


    The Second Travesty

    The second largest problem is that projects can be created, receive revenue from unknowing consumers, and they can produce no product while simultaneously never returning the funds. Easily one of the most controversial issues of Kickstarter and rightfully so, there is a constant stream of products that are either revealed to be Scams, or are in an endless cycle of apparent development that can end with the product being deemed a failure, scrapped by the developers, and never be heard from again, rendering all investments made from sources useless.

    Generally speaking, yes there are many developers that don’t intend to for their projects to never be fully realized, but there are others who abuse the system of Kickstarter to scam people out of their money and for the most part nothing in their policy covers events like these. Take for example, an article produced by digital trends about the many scam projects that have shown up on Kickstarter.

    One of the projects was produced by a company known as Elio Motors who launched a project to make a fuel efficient three-wheeled electric vehicle. The important part is the product must be just believable enough to get people to believe it’s possible to make at some point but never tell them what is truly happening behind the scenes. According to the article, the company “The company was certainly good at one thing: Raising money from casual investors, to the tune of $17 million for its first crowdfunding round, including over 65,000 that reserved a model ahead of time . . . burned through its investment money in only a few short months, primarily on suspicious soft expenses easily summed up as ‘paychecks’ . . . now obvious there will never be an Elio scooter” (Carpenter).

    On the opposite end of the spectrum you have projects like the Star Citizen whose projects grows even higher and higher without an end in development in sight over its seven-year span. Its cost and greediness has only raised even higher, most recently as noted by ScreenRant with its “27,000$ bundle of starships and unique in-game content to high-end investors” (Morrison). Remember, this is for a project that hasn’t even been released and it has the audacity to ask for even more money when at this point in its life its more likely to fail than to ever to succeed.

    All In all there are many other, more reliable sources of crowdfunding with stronger regulations that enforce certain criteria for like certain backer guarantees and insurance for higher investors.




    Carpenter, Nicole. “The 5 Biggest crowdfunding failures of all time.” Digital Trends,               Accessed 19 July 2018.

    Klepek, Patrick. “Mighty No. 9’s Designer says “I own all the problems that came with this      game.” Kotaku,      proble- 1782382706. Accessed 19 July 2018.

    Morrison, Matt. “Star Citizen is really pushing the Patience (and wallets) of its community.” Screen Rant, Accessed 19 July 2018.

    VentureBeat. Venture Beat, 2018, Accessed 19 July 2018

  3. Online Identity Reflection

    August 3, 2018 by Evan Harvey

    Online Identity Reflection

    By Evan Harvey

    Dr. Green



    Social media can be a confusing place when trying to decipher someone’s online identity versus a real identity. Normally people will discover social media by possibly a friend or family member and from there they take the initiative to start their own account and see what it’s all about. I personally did not care for its aspects but my mother became enveloped into and decided to make an account for me, where I slowly started to discover what social media was all about. It allows a person to create a different identity separate from their own lives and through this they convey certain messages about themselves or about topics they are passionate for. After searching my social media there are two distinct sides of my actual personality that show through it, my strong academic side as evidence of numerous accomplishment post made for a general audience and my humorous post made primarily for specific audiences, making it a fairly good representation of my character.

    In terms of the online representation of myself and how I actually am, there are many posts that are able to demonstrate the two large sides of my personality, even though the only social media I’ve used is Facebook. For the academic side, one can see many post being made about personal achievements made while during college. For example, one of my most liked post is a result of actually being accepted into three different colleges. At that point almost, every semester there is some exciting development involving my academic achievements. I post significantly less than most users on Facebook so the ones I do make are ones either deemed important enough that I want friends and family alike to see, or revolve around my comedic side. To prove this, there are two post that expertly show this divide in character. One post in regard to my academic side is “I’m truly honored to be inducted into the national honor history society Phi Alpha Theta! I’ve done a lot to get this far and I’m excited for what the future holds,” which demonstrates a genuine appreciation and reflection of the accomplishments made during college (Harvey). If one where to only see this post because I don’t post quite often, they would believe me to be quite studious, and academic without knowing my humorous side as well. Many of the pictures of myself as well give off this academic side as many of them portray either a certificate or me standing in a picture with one.

    For the humorous side of representation on social media, there is a certain characteristic of mine that goes along with Brakes ideas on inadvertent self-disclosure. There are very few post made that are personally made by me as for the most part I tend to only put important events of my life on there. Many of these specific posts are always geared towards a certain audience that I have in mind so there’s no real expectation of others liking, or even understanding what its about. For example, there was a recent post I created saying “Nintendo could have just announced Smash Brothers and it would have won E3” (Harvey). Now this statement assumes three things the target audience should know in order for it to make sense. They have to know what the company Nintendo is, what Smash Brothers is, and what E3 is. Without this knowledge the entire post makes no sense to people who don’t know what those three things are, but as for the small target audience trying to be reached, they would understand it entirely. Post made personally like this are a more accurate representation of the real me while academic posts are a better representation of my academic identity. Now the thing about this is that my mother who is surprisingly more active on social media than I am enjoys making numerous post on my Facebook wall. They are all posted without being checked first and because of that it can give misguidance on what my character is because it’s what my mother believes I am, not necessarily what I believe I am. While generally the posts are harmless, it may have the unattended effect of affecting future careers because the wrong impression could be given.

    Looking through many of the post made on my Facebook wall, there are many positives and negatives that can be drawn from out that could potentially affect future circumstances. For the positives two things can be drawn from the post I make. The first is that the multiple academic achievement posts made can be a potential sign to future employers and companies of dedication and intelligence. The second is the humorous side can show candidness and laid-back side many might like or desire to see. For negative effects my social media presence could have, the concern comes from the post on the wall made by someone else. Potential Employers could see these posts and see a lack of seriousness or professionalism that may affect a person’s interpretation of my character.




    Harvey, Evan. ‘I’m truly honored to be inducted into the national honor history society Phi Alpha Theta! I’ve done a lot to get this far and I’m excited for what the future holds.’ 29 April 2018, 7:05 p.m. Facebook post.

    Harvey, Evan. ‘Nintendo could have just announced Smash Brothers and it would have won E3.’ 12 June 2018, 6:40 p.m. Facebook post.

  4. About me

    July 3, 2018 by Evan Harvey

    Coming to you from the esteemed history and education department of Longwood University, my name is Evan Harvey, and I’m a proud member of both, the History national honor society, and Education national honor society. My main interests academically revolve around history, but more specifically world history as i enjoy seeing the origins of today’s societies around the globe. While I don’t particularly have academic aspirations being that I’m already one of the top 10 students within the history department, I do wish to be able to effectively translate that knowledge into the classroom in becoming a high school history teacher.

    The themes of the course revolve around technology, and the ideas of a online or digital identity. For many, this may seem unimportant, but in our growing society where technology is becoming more accessible and standard everywhere, it’s important to recognize how these functions work, and noting the actual differences between a regular persona and a online persona, because for many those are two completely different aspects of themselves. This especially holds true for teaching because your students are going to be different within the classroom, and online outside of the classroom, and knowing these differences can actual help better teach them in the future. Because many of my hobbies revolve around being online, I know firsthand the differences people between these different identities can take for themselves.

    This blog will mainly be about discussing the ideas behind online identities, and the many positives, and negatives that can develop from them. This can range from a variety of different topics, such as online bullying, to political posts on Facebook, to even the toxic cultural revolving around competitive video games. The internet is a vast place and its more important than ever to understand both, how one interacts with it and how others do as well.