Check out the documentary The Great Hack on Netflix
Explore how a data company named Cambridge Analytica came to symbolize the dark side of social media in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.Netflix
It is worrisome how they influences elections using the power of social media. It is like this program I saw once that showed the feed of a Democrat and a Republican… and it was so different it was shocking. Same information radically slanted one way or the other and presented for them to gobble up and spit out.
And we are not immune to this because of confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias occurs from the direct influence of desire on beliefs. When people would like a certain idea or concept to be true, they end up believing it to be true. They are motivated by wishful thinking. This error leads the individual to stop gathering information when the evidence gathered so far confirms the views or prejudices one would like to be true.Psychology Today
Once we have formed a view, we embrace information that confirms that view while ignoring, or rejecting, information that casts doubt on it.
Why even look for other information outside of your belief system when you are being force fed it 24/7 on our social media feeds? Not too many people look for good source material and hunt for information and facts. If we see an article that conforms to what we believe… click. And insert outrage. So, yeah, it is incredibly easy to manipulate people in their beliefs and sway them in certain ways. It is why propaganda works so very well. And this is propaganda. So if you think you are immune, think again. This I am immune? Not likely. Look at this article that confirms exactly what I believe already? Nom Nom Nom. Yummy. Now I can comfortably carry on with my day feeling all is right with the world. We are all human and this is a human bias.
We have an election coming up here in Canada and one does wonder how we will be manipulated into one way or another. Likely the extremest of views. Fear and hate are the easiest of emotions to… tweak. Psychological warfare. I can already predict who will win. I have no idea who to vote for yet based on platforms and such. But I know who will win. It doesn’t take a genius to do that math.
And can it be prevented? When we see these things and then we share it and it spreads like a plague through social media? Overwhelming any unbiased news? Well, all news as a some slant but let’s just say… overwhelming the news that is moderate and factual and actually does its job.
I have no idea. I do know that it is vital to teach this generation some pretty extreme critical thinking skills in school in order to counteract what they are inflicted and exposed to on a daily basis.
And it is vital that we all realize the power of social media and that we, our data, is the commodity here. And that we, therefore, have to protect our privacy and data as much as humanly possible. Even though we have been mapped and bought and sold for a long time now. Maybe a little late for us, eh?
Although, as a writer perhaps they haven’t got me nailed down yet in their algorithms based on what they try to sell me… it is pretty hilarious. I Google, when I use Google, some strange things and end up with stanger ads. But I’m not an idiot. I know my data has been collected and sold and bought… just like everyone.
Which brings me to my next point. Opposite day. Let’s all pick a day of the week where we post the most radical opinion that is entirely not what we believe:
- Give guns to babies to they can also protect themselves!
- The earth is actually a square!
- Climate change is a hoax perpetrated by aliens!
- Climate change is happening… due to aliens! They want to terraform the planet!
Take any firm belief you have… find the most radically opposite article you can find on it and post it all over your social media. See if there algorithms can handle that every week for a year. Maybe they will implode. Maybe our feeds will become normal again. Maybe our data points will be all over the place. Maybe we will have the most wild ads ever. Maybe they won’t know who we will vote for ever. Wouldn’t that be the best prank ever? I suppose it would have to be a different day of the week all the time.
Anyway, just saying, social media is was a tool we used to connect and it exploded on us. Oops. All technology is good and evil though, isn’t it? Video games… awesome. But some people get seriously addicted. I knew a friend that dropped out of university due to being so addicted to a video game she ceased going to class. Not the games fault though. Smartphones, awesome. But when you are literally sitting across from someone trying to have a conversation and they are more interested in FB or Insta to even have a conversation in real life? Something is Disconnected about that. So social media can connect and it can rip apart.
And it was only a matter of time before someone found out, hey, this is a great way to manipulate a massive amount of people any way we want to. And how can you change the Connectivity of it and not let douchenozzle evil corporations, governments, the Big Bads use it to mind fuck people? Who knows, eh? Maybe we all just need a heavy dose of critical thinking, good source sites, mistrust, and cynicism. Nothing is innocent and pure these days. Except cat memes. They ask nothing from you but laughs.
I mean, what are we going to do in a world where we monitize ourselves and see ourselves as a commodity? Maybe we should ask them to buy our data from us? Get our money’s worth? Yeah, you can get my personality type, fav colour, my shoe size, religious affiliation, political leaning, and what ice cream I like… for 10 grand? Then maybe I will stop getting ads for adult diapers and becoming a surrogate… in the same day? How old do you think I am? That is just confusing as all hell.
Sadly, the US did get Trump as a result… so that sucks for them. I mean, if your going to manipulate people can you please manipulate us to vote for someone who is smart, moderate, gives a fuck about people (our health, jobs, overall wellbeing… lives)… that sort of thing? Us peons would really appreciate that. We are a little tired of greedy fucks. Just saying. No money in that, though.