Hundreds of millions of people use it everyday, and in general it appears its purpose is to bring people closer together. Heck, even Mark Zuckerberg himself believes Facebook is about bringing the world closer together. In some ways this is absolutely true. I for one have seen that as I’ve built a conscious media and education outlet over the last 9 years that reaches hundreds of millions all over the world.
I intuitively reported late last year that Facebook would be under heavy fire in 2018 as they struggle to find what the point of their platform is beyond surveillance and money. Here we are seeing it already.
Since the 2016 presidential election ended and Hillary lost in what was a shocking result to many, ‘fake news’ and censorship on Facebook has become so strong I’m not even sure it’s the same platform it once was. Not only that, it appears that meaningless, and often useless, content and conjecture is about all that fills users newsfeeds these days. What happened?
Edward Snowden weighed in on what he feels Facebook is, and always has been: a surveillance company.
Facebook makes their money by exploiting and selling intimate details about the private lives of millions, far beyond the scant details you voluntarily post. They are not victims. They are accomplices. https://t.co/mRkRKxsBcw
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) March 17, 2018
Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as “surveillance companies.” Their rebranding as “social media” is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) March 17, 2018
Is he right? The story goes that Facebook started out in colleges and universities as a way to keep students in touch with one another. It then opened to the general public and became a massive source of communication, information sharing and connection. Then Facebook went public.
The moment this happened Facebook’s new priority was making money for its share holders, and upholding whatever political pressure they had to abide by given their obvious connections with intelligence communities. Data is a huge business, for both companies and intelligence agencies.
With the need for constant financial growth, Facebook began to strip the value it provided on its platform, connecting people with information, and replaced it with a newsfeed that would produce as much income as possible. The problem with this is, Facebook no longer became a tool of connection and instead became a massive advertising platform.
How did they do it? They had all the data they ever needed as people were freely giving it up, and Facebook had its many ways of eerily collecting it.
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Facebook The Only One?
It has been said by many close to the company that Facebook’s agendas go far beyond simply a social media network connecting people. Facebook’s former vice president of user growth stated Facebook was “ripping society apart.” Ex Facebook chief Sean Parker said Facebook was built to exploit people’s weaknesses.
But apparently it isn’t just Facebook in this game, it’s Google, YouTube and other SM networks too. Julian Assange discusses the close relationships between Google and the NSA in his 2014 book: When Google Met WikiLeaks
Around the same time, Google was becoming involved in a program known as the “Enduring Security Framework” (ESF), which entailed the sharing of information between Silicon Valley tech companies and Pentagon-affiliated agencies “at network speed.” Emails obtained in 2014 under Freedom of Information requests show Schmidt and his fellow Googler Sergey Brin corresponding on first-name terms with NSA chief General Keith Alexander about ESF Reportage on the emails focused on the familiarity in the correspondence: “General Keith . . . so great to see you . . . !” Schmidt wrote. But most reports overlooked a crucial detail. “Your insights as a key member of the Defense Industrial Base,” Alexander wrote to Brin, “are valuable to ensure ESF’s efforts have measurable impact.” –Julian Assange
What To Take From This
It isn’t that any of these platforms are inherently evil, I truly believe it’s a ‘lazy’ way to think and attempt to understand people and things when we simply call them evil or other hateful terms. Discussion marginalized to that level means we don’t want to understand why, therefore we don’t want to actually solve the issue we just want to complain about it.
We are in a time where humanity is being challenged to ‘grow up’ in a sense. I feel that means usherhing ourselves into full individual responsibility for the nature of world and choosing to individually do something about it.
Show we use these platforms? use them as you see fit but I always raise the question about how we are choosing to use them and reflecting on how we feel as we use them in certain ways. Are we putting information out that we wouldn’t want others seeing, knowing and collecting? Are we chasing likes and the feeling of approval from others? Are we comparing ourselves to others via these platforms? Or are these platforms serving us to stay informed or connected to others and information in an effective way?
Things are what they are, we can choose to use them and engage in whatever way suits us. No judgement necessary.
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