So, the Tories have announced – in what appears to be a rather desperate attempt to convince people that they know something, anything about computers after the debacle of yesterday’s NHS ransomware catastrophe driven by chronic Tory underfunding – that, if re-elected, they will make a law to allow young people to remove social media posts they made before they were 18.
Which only goes to show even more clearly that they don’t know the first thing about how either social media or the internet work. They clearly haven’t any understanding of both the transience and permanence of the internet – or the fact that it’s not a UK thing.
You can already do it
Any user of Facebook, Twitter or other social media can already remove anything they’ve posted. It’s easy.
Here’s an extract from the Facebook help page on how to delete something you’ve posted:
And Twitter’s instructions are similarly straightforward:
Other social media platforms have their own ways to do it. But…
That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily gone – and there’s nothing the Tories can do
Amber Rudd’s promise is also meaningless because it completely fails to understand that the internet is a worldwide thing. You can already delete anything you post to social media, but if anybody has copied that to another site, or blog, mirroring/archive, it’s still out there and – because it might be in the US, Azerbaijan or Outer Mongolia – no law made in the UK is going to make it go away.
Theresa May and Amber Rudd say they’re going to make a law to force social media platforms to let you do something they already let you do anyway – no matter what age you are – even though that doesn’t mean those embarrassing pictures from your youth aren’t still there to find via Google anyway.
Theresa’s Tories are lurching from fiasco to disaster in this election campaign, betraying the absolute nonsense of their claims to competence. It’s only the efforts of their media glovepuppets that are preventing the whole public seeing the blindingly obvious.
It’s up to all of us to keep putting a spotlight on that incompetence until the truth gets past the filters.
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