Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Facebook and Mind Control

It's a wee bit rich in an age of compulsive oversharing that the nation is up in arms about Facebook and privacy.

Holman Jenkins puts it in context this morning in the Wall Street Journal:

But notice that it wasn’t Facebook that recently had a problem with theft of private, intimate celebrity home videos. Apple did.

And notice why: Facebook is for information that people want to broadcast about themselves. They sign up “friends” willy-nilly to increase the audience for their revelations.

Facebook never asks for my credit-card number, though plenty of websites do, and plenty have suffered data breaches of real consequence that make the Facebook “breach” look even more overblown. Facebook users don’t post their bank-account numbers. If they mention their incomes, it’s probably a lie. The result, if any, of the alleged Facebook breach was indistinguishable from the daily routine: Facebook users saw ads.

If you are worried about somebody turning your deepest secrets into advertising, that’s not Facebook—it’s the search engine Google. Mr. Zuckerberg conceded that probably all two billion users have had their data “scraped” from the site. No kidding. Google is the biggest scraper: Google is often how you find an acquaintance has a Facebook page in the first place. But this is information that Facebook posters wanted others to find.

But, if privacy is not the real issue, what is? Why, it’s all about mind control. Whether it is now or is about to become the world’s most powerful media platform, Facebook can easily make or break other media outlets. It decides what is and is not appropriate, what offends people, what hurts their feelings and what counts as hate.

Clearly, the brouhaha surrounding the Trump election arose in some considerable part because the armies of the progressive left believed that they had gained control over the minds of Americans… and thus that the country would follow the dictates published in the mainstream media and on Facebook. When they discovered that for all the battles they had won they seemed to have lost the war, they turned on their enemies with limitless vitriolic rage.

Anyway, is the issue is mind control, then among the most pertinent questioners yesterday was Sen. Ted Cruz. If you missed it, here’s he is interrogating Mark Zuckerberg:


Sam L. said...

I don't do "The Book of Feces".

Jim Bob said...

The only reason for this FB hysteria is because Trump won the election.

Sam L. said...


Ares Olympus said...

Probably the best thing Facebook can do is to dump the "Trending" which was the source of the viral "fake news" getting selectively seen on users based on their susceptibility to certain topics.

If they really want to make it back to community, they should stop pretending unfiltered "news" can be anything except garbage. The reality of social media sharing seems to be that 90% of people share what they believe, rather than what they've verified.

The trouble I've had on Facebook in recent months is posting link to think like Snopes or Wikipedia that debunk nonsense, and facebook automatically marks it as spam. I can click a link "not spam", and then the only option is "delete". It does allow me to comment, but I can't defend my statements with supporting evidence. One way around I found is doing a screen capture on a debunking page and linking that.

Sam L. said...

I don't find Snopes all that reliable. I don't do Facebook.

Ares Olympus said...

Sam L. said... I don't find Snopes all that reliable.

Do you have an example? At least Snopes is required to give its sources and reasoning so you can look further if you like.

And sometimes people actually post real stuff on FB, and Snopes can help confirm both its truth and sources. Ideally we could all be skeptics and assume everything we see on TV or MSM is "Fake news" until we can personally verify otherwise, but we have to trust someone. And trust has two levels - we want to trust people are not intentionally deceiving us, and we want to trust other people with time and resources make less mistakes in identifying the facts than our "gut" tells us without really looking.

There's certainly lots we can't easily verify. Did Bashar al-Assad just use a chemical attack to kill his own people? We don't have any clear forensic proof, but we do have video of dead people, so probably someone did it, unless they're "crisis actors" and not even dead. The rabbit hole of skepticism would ultimately lead into unlimited possibilities of conspiracy and paralysis against any action since we can never know with enough certainty what is real, and what only exists in our tribal imaginations.

Facebook can't solve any of that, even with 15,000 leftist fact-checkers, but it can make things worse unintentionally, if it strengthens echo chambers on any "side".

Anonymous said...

first, snopes or any other ONE site cannot be trusted as THE source. The only way to find truth is to learn to research, testing and bookmarking several sites, finding ones that are truthful, and synthesizing your own knowledge from this.

Second, it is well-known that snopes AND the the 'fact-check" sites (what a horrible message to our young teaching them that one site will give the the truth about everything) are run by leftists and supported by them, most notably George Soros.

Wikipedia is open-source and anyone can post. Because the left is more organized as far as posting propaganda well as using the language for their benefit ("google it" instead of "look it up" when google discriminates against traditionalist views), Wikipedia is more likely to lean to the left if that particular article does lean.

Be careful about thinking there is one source for the truth.