I have been speechless a lot lately, witness the lack of posts for a while. It seems like every time I see a prompt or read something and start to express my thoughts on the subject, I get hit with something else and never finish getting it together. It’s been a flabbergasting year.
The Times (Seattle, that is) newspaper this morning , yes, I still read the paper, has an article that disturbs me greatly, it isn’t the first of its ilk recently.
Facebook, Google helped anti-refugee campaign ads is the title. On my recent trip to China one of the movie things I watched going over was a British news magazine article about Facebook. For a while now I’ve been feeling the creeps about how much information Facebook has on me, especially given my low participation rate. Even though I never gave them my birth date somehow it’s there. All of this information is collected so that they can target advertising in ways unprecedented by anything that has ever existed. I doubt if my mom could do a better job of targeting me than Facebook, and I don’t do much on Facebook.
Google isn’t far, if at all, behind. I feel more warmly about them for some reason, which may have no basis in today’s reality. Amazon may know more than either, although I’m not sure they have realized that I ordered the knee brace for my grandmother and the cowboy boots for my son…I’m pretty sure Facebook could figure that out.
The concept of free speech is being challenged more today than ever in history. I’m sure someone out there will disagree, but here is why I think so: What is delivered, express to our inboxes and news feeds, is not even truth, it’s what the companies get paid for pumping into mail boxes. In a slimy way they carefully choose the mailboxes so that there is a “receptive”, meaning uncritical, audience. By the time less receptive people are aware of the misinformation, a bunch of people are so deeply entrenched in the weirdness that they won’t believe the truth.
This prevents people from hearing multiple viewpoints. It prevents freedom of thought, which is the ultimate purpose of freedom of speech.
The world is a messy place, the social media world is dumbing things down, only showing people what they want them to see in order to make ad revenue. They don’t just allow a warped worldview to go unchallenged, but actually benefit financially from lies in a very big way.
We need to be aware of “all the news that’s fit to print”, and maybe some that isn’t. These companies are making that hard to accomplish. One gets pigeon-holed by the data collection/evaluation and only gets to see one set of information.
Two questions to ponder:
- Great privilege, such as that granted by our society as a whole to social media, should have corresponding responsibility. The question is: How do you accomplish that?
- How does one get the straight scoop… or at least balanced crooked ones?