The tables are turning on large social media platforms and the web giants. So many articles are being written now about the polarisation of political and social views by networks run with the sole intention or profiling and harvesting our data. All under the ruse of improving our customer experience with a more personalised look and feel while actually trying to take advantage of our psychological flaws and need for social acceptance, to keep us distracted and addicted to their networks. Even considering sleep as a competitor in their marketing and business strategies.
But they don’t just want our data to keep us addicted to them they want it so that they can sell us, the consumer, as the product to the advertisers of big business, mass media and political parties.
But if you have read anything by me you will probably be aware of this on some level as I do tend to talk about this a lot. Because I feel it is a critical point that people blindly give away their data, but worse than that they are then sold as the product to marketers. Their data is used both by the social media or web giant and the marketing people to manipulate them into buying this product or that or worse still voting this way or that. But it goes much deeper than that, but that is for a future blog.
What is interesting is that at least two former Facebook top executives have admitted that it was set up to exploit human 'vulnerability and is ripping society apart.
We have articles talking about the pornified normative that our children are exposed to. The Business Insider recently wrote about how Bill Gates and Steve Jobs raised their kid's technology free and how psychologists are fast becoming aware of how smartphones are damaging to teenage brains. They are addicted and is it any wonder when a former co-founder of Facebook admits that they aimed to give people a dopamine hit to keep them glued to the site.
Digital marketing training these days is all about big data, analytics, psychological and social profiling and behavioural economics. We are being trained to be master manipulators and the thing is that now this training is in the mainstream of the marketing profession, how many steps ahead are the digital media giants? Tristan Harris in his Ted Talk that we have posted recently talks about the control rooms in these companies design to shape and influence the minds of billions of people and he talks from personal experience as he was a Design Ethicist at Google where he studied how to ethically steer peoples thoughts. Just pause on that point for a moment.
Now I am not telling you something I haven't told you before. It's not new. In fact, it is just the way things are in this digital dystopia. And it is your choice to accept it or go off grid or do a mixture of both. Or you could, as we teach from the advocates for change blog use this info and knowledge to protect you and your loved ones or discover how to get your message of positive social change heard in all this digital noise.
The back lash is very interesting though. The storm that is brewing.
Digital media billionaires and ex-social media employees feeling the need to expose what we all thought was going on.
People are said to be breaking away from mainstream social media and moving towards sites that offer a more private less intrusive experience. That is not about pushing adverts or products on to them or segmenting their worldview by profiling the user and nudging them this way or that.
Be wary when politicians and authority figures turn on digital media
A word of warning though. When you hear or read how a politician, a prime minister or a president demands tighter control of social media and web giants should be prosecuted for this or that. Especially when these politicians vote for new legislation that erodes your digital rights and your right to privacy. You will often find the conservatives in the UK talking about this kind of things straight after a terrorist attack or some tragic national event. Be careful of the language they use. As often they are using these events for platforms to erode our rights by trying to force the digital empires to hand over their data and accuse them of harbouring and facilitating terrorism when they don’t. The politicians and security agencies are just trying to get more access to your data.
Now you could be fooled into thinking the tech giants are the good people here as they are refusing to hand over private data, but that would be forgetting that they don’t want to hand over their product, you and me, without using it abusing it and selling it to the highest bidder first.
Some resources for you below.
Blog article by behavioural marcomms analyst - S D O’Prey – remember I am not the enemy but I walk amongst them…
Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker: site made to exploit human 'vulnerability
Former Facebook executive: social media is ripping society apart
Pornified normative: our children and the constant hum of social media anxiety
Social and Media Split
Prosecute web giants for abuse, May urged
Of course all of this fades into the distance when we consider the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal and the abuse of people data.
When I wrote about this company last year and my fears on how our data and behavioural science was being used by political parties I had no idea how big the scandal would become.