In the same way “Social distancing” ought to be called “anti-social media”, so there is a good case that “social media”, or at least those who run it, are about as anti-social as it is possible to get and that they are largely responsible for an appalling death toll that will occur due to worldwide government response to covid in 2020. That is because, through their manipulation of content on their platforms, they created conditions in which hysterical attitudes to covid took off whilst common sense views were repressed.
During the disastrous and mistaken “covid” scare of 2020, as someone who was not on Facebook and was highly dubious about Twitter, eventually departing them for Parler, the strange thing was that there appeared to be almost no organised opposition.
The inability to find common sense on covid websites was obvious knowing as I did how much Google repressed Republican and climate sceptic websites and how they were taking down every Youtube video that dared to question the orthodoxy of the covid end-of-world viewpoint. That would make it almost impossible to find common sense websites using Google, and since about 90% of searches were made via Google, that meant common sense websites were very hard to find for most people making it quite ineffective to produce such a site.
Not until October, did I happen to read a newspaper article that mentioned a group “Supporting Scotland”, and knowing exactly what to look for, and not using Google I eventually found their website. But when I tried to contact them, the contact message was not replied. Probably again, because it was being blocked in some way, possibly because they were using gmail.
Eventually, I simply turned up where they were said to meet on a Saturday and eventually made contact. From that, I realised that almost all their activity was being organised through Facebook, despite the fact I knew Facebook, Google and Twitter were ruthlessly repressing any common sense on covid. In order to create a list of groups, I joined Facebook, through which I found over a dozen facebook groups. The people running these groups were well aware of Facebook repression and were anticipating being forced off Facebook, yet despite also finding they had produced a couple of websites, they continued to try to do most of their publicity via Facebook rather than bypass it.
Likewise Twitter, was also manipulating what users see. This was particularly obvious for Republicans in the US election, where it was not only downrating views it disliked, but also just banning conservatives for no reason at all except being conservative. But throwing conservatives off Twitter was in retrospect a godsend. Repression was far more harmful, because someone with a viewpoint Twitter wants to repress were reporting about 10% the views of people whose viewpoint Twitter endorses. The insidious nature of this should be obvious: if Twitter simply banned people whose views it did not like, then very quickly they would move, and very quickly those who wanted to read their comments would also move. However, by downrating someone, it appears that they are still on the platform, but that THEY are not as active or not so well supported. In other words by downrating someone it makes them and their views appear to be “unpopular” in a way that is not easy for many to detect.
The Nature of the Social Media: they are Sociopaths
Joining Parler relatively early on in its life, it was obvious that the user experience was very different to Twitter. The first issue, was that when I joined, I started following numerous people, but very quickly I realised that this created a deluge of posts that were on subjects where I had no interest. (i.e. the US election). In contrast, on Twitter, whilst it too was undoubtedly dominated by US users, the user experience was to largely remove any mention of the US election. Clearly they were handling posts in a different way.
Over time, I began to see Parler making changes and this started to reveal what happens behind the social media facade. Parler started to jumble up posts, so that I wasn’t seeing the posts in a chronological order, but instead they started being shown in a randomised order where I might see one from 3 days ago, next to one that had just been posted. But to do this, someone had to have made a decision to do it and have decided other things such as what mix between older posts and new, how to randomise them and as always occurs, how to decide which posts I was not going to find so easily. Parler was making a decision about what I view and that both promotes some posts but also demotes others.
The way it effectively “censored” some posts was obvious in one particular poster, I think from Australia who I had come to rely on for my morning news as they could give me a very good summary of what had been happening overnight. But under the new randomised order, their posts largely disappeared. Whilst clearly not deliberate, in effect, their posts from this “overnight” time period were being censored. More importantly, I was only aware of the censorship, because I had previously been able to read their posts, had cone to rely on them to some degree, and so was very aware when they disappeared from my timeline. But undoubtedly the same changes happened to many others, but because the change was less obvious, I could not see it happening. That is the nature of social media censorship, if it occurs in a subtle way we may totally miss it, because unless we know to expect the post, we will not notice if it is not there.
But there are clearly many other ways Twitter manipulates the posts we see that Parler does not, resulting a very different experience. A simple one, is to put more prominence on those posts that people I follow or are “Friends” with have “liked”. But that can be extended, to people who are friends of friends or followers of followers have liked. No one asks whether this is a good idea, instead the social mafia will make the changes and monitor how people react. If it increases engagement, it will usually be treated as good (at least for their share value).
What then happens when the big tech companies decide to downrate people from a particular part or point of view? Such as they have been doing to Trump supporters in the US election. Anyone who follows them also gets downrated, because the posts from the original poster are downrated, anyone sharing them is also downrated and that in turn means that someone sharing downrated material is less likely to be seen than someone share “uprated” material. Thus, by downrating a few key individuals, anyone who support their views is also be downrated and thus the whole “balance” of a “public opinion” can appear to shift quite dramatically by just a few keystrokes.
But, it gets worse, because what we are seeing today is a proliferation of manipulation at a very personal level for anyone who uses these big tech companies. Thus, not only are people being manipulated as a group, which was common in the days of mass media newspapers and TV, but we are also seeing manipulation at a very personal level tailor made to the individual and their personal circumstances. So, e.g. Facebook know when your birthday is. They know who your friends are, and so they will know who may be considering buying you a birthday present. So, there is clearly a huge financial interest in presenting to your friends/family suggestions of things to buy at the time they may be considering buying a birthday present. Not only that, but there is a huge financial interest in ensuring you DO NOT SEE things which DO NOT MAKE these big tech companies money. The same is true of political views. If these big tech companies endorse a political viewpoint like climate or covid alarmism, they have all the tools to manipulate what you see on social media, by changing search results or changing what you see on social media, to persaude you to endorse a point of view, or to buy a product you would not otherwise have “bought”.
But, it gets even worse!! Because not only are the big tech companies giving a very tailor made experience to individuals, but the most valuable people on their platforms are not the ones buying socks for their Nephew, but the politicians and journalists who through their views can make or break big companies. There is no doubt that these big tech companies know who the politicians are (and even if they try to go on anonymously – they usually know where you are and how many people regularly sit in the Chamber of parliament or the US Senate?) They know who the politicians are and they ensure that most of what they see is what these big Tech companies want them to see. And even if they follow a very small group of people, Big Tech will ensure that the posts that are prominent are the ones most likely to push the point of view they want politicians to adopt. So, have no illusion: the increasing, sight of politicians, so out of touch with the electorate, that they no idea why they lost, is a sign that big tech are deluding them.
Because if you enjoy manipulating people, if you have very little interest in morality what is good for society, then running a social media company will suit you to a ‘T’. Because most of the job, is creating ways to manipulate people both to increase the user engagement, but also to manipulate them to buy both products and ideas from your advertisers who fund your platform. You’ve got to be a sociopath who enjoys manipulating other people despite knowing they would hate what you are doing if they knew about it.
The Fake News Epidemic
Everyone who grew up before the Internet, knew the press could be extremely dishonest and as such journalists regularly had amongst the lowest credibility of any profession. Journalism did not change as a result of the internet, instead, journalists suddenly found that they were not the only people whose views could get publicity. As a result, where once a journalist could lie with abandon, fearing only the comments of another journalist who usually had no complaint as journalists were all much from the same class, suddenly journalists found that they were open to the same scrutiny on social media as any member of the public and the public were no where near as tolerant of their lies as their fellow journalists.
As importantly, social media also became a way for stories that were hitherto repressed by the media to get an airing. Some of these were also lies. But many provided the true picture that the journalists had hitherto withheld from the public. For example the massive support in the UK for leaving the EU – something that collectively journalists had lied about and repressed. In response, journalists attempted to push back against the public, by creating what were termed “Fact checking” sites, but whilst they purported to give the “facts”, what they did instead was to support the old viewpoint of the journalists against viewpoints of the public. Thus they became part of an apparatus to endorse attacks on opinions & people (like Trump) that journalists disliked. Thus the “fact checkers” were no more reliable than the media and did nothing to improve the credibility of what was seen on the internet.
However, the internet had an even more profound impact on journalism. Previously most papers had received large amounts of their funding through advertisement which paid for investigative journalism. But the internet suddenly created a completely new and better way to advertise to people. That took away much of the revenue from traditional papers forcing them to reduce their staff, leaving them struggling investigate stories properly. But that was in turn compounded by another evil of the big tech companies: they STOLE MUCH OF THEIR CONTENT from the traditional media. So, not were the new media taking away advertising (legitimately), but quite illegally, they were stealing much of its content from the Old Media AND from the new small internet sites. The old media was losing money, losing readers, losing advertising to a new media that was stealing much of its content FOR FREE whilst the rest was added FOR FREE by users, and gaining all the advertisers.
The result of the appalling behaviour by big tech was that the old media, which was never the most honest, was undermined so that investigate journalism has largely died. In its place, with the demise of proper investigative journalism, the content of social media became dominated with poor quality “opinion journalism” and user contributed views and opinions. Journalists, simply did not have the money to produce heavyweight factual articles, so that true “fact checking” was left to those few individuals who had the time and knowledge to research subjects themselves – individuals who usually had very little support and so were EASILY suppressed by big tech.
Covid & Vicious Delusional Cycles
In 2020 news started reaching the internet of a deadly bug that came to be known as Covid 19. Initial reports suggested about 1-4% of people would die, making it comparable to Spanish flu and a potential disaster on a scale with a world war. Over time, the true nature of the bug was revealed, first it was revealed that most people had a very benign form of the bug that meant these cases had been initially missed and the death rate was a lot smaller as a result. And secondly that contrary to expectation perhaps 80% of the population were not susceptible to the virus. The result meant that the death rate was closer to 0.05% of people and that rather than being a once in a century epidemic it was the same size as epidemics that regularly occur about once every decade.
However, the response from governments to this once in a decade epidemic was completely utterly bizarre. The best estimates suggest that many more people will die as a result of the government policies intended to “defeat” covid, than even covid itself, and orders of magnitude more than the policies might be said to have “saved”, particularly as many of those “saved” were near the end of their lives and quickly died from other illnesses. As a policy the attempt to “lockdown” society is undoubtedly the most stupid and deliberate self-inflicted wound of all recorded history.
How did this happen?
It happened for a very simple reason: the measures that social mafia brought in supposedly to stem the spread of “fake news”, had exactly the opposite impact: delusional views about covid being the “plague” spread like wildfire on social media, the journalists who largely echo the views they see on their (distorted) social media feeds, simply regurgitated the covid “plague” ideas, so that so that covid plauge quickly these became the “orthodox” view
But as the covid plague viewpoint became the “orthodoxy”, common sense views, largely deriving from individuals which Big tech has a history of repressing, came to be viewed as “fake news”. The result was that procedures originally brought in to combat “fake news”, started to be used to repress common sense. Thus it became impossible to stop the fake news delusional beliefs about covid. We created a vicious cycle where only views & those pushing views that supported the covid as “the plague” were permissibly on social media. The result was that Covid as the end of the world scenario took off in its own epidemic: a feardemic. Whereas those doctors, scientists, virologists, who urged caution & common sense were repressed such that they were incapable of curtailing the feardemic. The repressive techniques of Big Tech companies, created conditions in which the delusional viewpoint of an “end of world” virus spread like wildfire, whilst at the same time ACTIVELY REPRESSING common sense views that might have stopped the firestorm of hysteria.
As a result, much of the West has so severely damaged their economies that it looks likely that some form of global economic collapse may be on the horizon. In contrast, China, which to a large extent created the original feardemic, has very much got back to normal: making itself richer and more powerful at the expense of the West.