What is Social Media Doing For You?
During the holidays I watched The Social Dilema on Netflix and boy was I in for a shock.
It was all about the Cambridge Analytica scandal where the basic concept was that Facebook sold a load of data to them and they used this data to "influence" bystanders on Facebook.
This is where it gets really scary....
This "influence" meant that clever marketeers went and chose individuals who they knew were sat on the fence about really important things such as the American Election and Brexit.
Then they targeted them with specific advertising.
In the American Election Cambridge Analytica were tasked with helping Donald Trump to get into office and Brexit to happen.
So what happened was they flooded that fence sitting individual with negative adverts about Hilary Clinton and Britain being flooded with illegal immigrants and the rest they say is history.
I am a Psychologist so imagine my horror when I realised that this is what Facebook were using our data for.
We have become the commodity.
There was a huge scandal at the time and Cambridge Analytical took the brunt of it and declared themselves bankrupt.
Facebook received a $5 billion dollar fine.
But that settlement imposed no meaningful changes to the company structure or changes in how they were paid by advertisers.
So this behaviour continues to this day.
So Nik, what are you telling me all this for? This is a huge change in topic from what you usually talk about?
I've personally used Facebook for 12 years and have used it almost daily for 3 years running my business.
And this has become even more so during the pandemic.
So it's entirely relevant to how I, you and so many others run their lives and businesses.
I had no idea that they were using our data in this way.
So this is all really bad right?
In a Western democracy where we have data protection and privacy laws you would not think that they would be able to do this.
I also recently found out that Facebook gathers data from applications and websites that it does not own.
Apple are starting a fight back against Facebook doing this.
It literally feels like we're living in the Matrix right now.
With big tech companies living like they're in the Wild West.
And the mainstream media appearing to follow in their footsteps.
The more wild the headline the more eyes they can get on their news.
Panic and fear causes the most eyes on which is exactly what they are tasked with. Selling news.
So I sat over the holidays and have had a big review of how I'm using and consuming technology and the news.
If I didn't have my online business, I would have immediately come off Facebook after watching The Social Dilema.
I was doing daily lives and posting several posts per day everyday.
So I'm in this position now where I feel like I have my own personal dilema.
I want to share with the online community what I am doing but I don't want my data being used this way.
So the reason I write this post is to encourage you as with everything that has happened recently to do your own research.
In recent times when any view that has been against the mainstream voice has been removed from social media and people have been getting stripped of the right to debate.
So don't be swayed in any way by advertisements that you see or what mainstream media are pushing on you.
I've run numerous psychological experiments in my years and ALL of them without exception can be manipulated into a headline that is known will cause more people to read it.
So over the next few months I will be taking my business off of Facebook.
Most of my posts and content I will be keeping right here on my website and I will be writing more posts in the form of good old fashioned emails.
Until a more ethical solution comes by, I don't want to be manipulated into making different choices than I would have done before.
So for now I am here still working online.
But if you follow me on Social Media you will be seeing less of me from now on.
On a positive note, this kind of thing never wins out in the long run. But we are for the time being trying to pass laws that data companies are several years ahead of.
As always with this kind of thing, the way we get control back over our data and our choices is we vote with our feet.
It's time to take control back of our lives.
And we do it one at a time.
Love Nik x