The dark side of social media

Ruthanne

SF VIP
Location
Midwest
This forum, and a couple of others I visit (primarily outdoor equipment repair) are as close as I intend to get to "social media". I have far too many other things to occupy my time and attention. I would dread a life that consisted of endless texting and tweeting.
No one wants a life of "endless texting and tweeting!" It may be more so though in these times of high stress and pandemic.
 

Ruthanne

SF VIP
Location
Midwest
I think it's a sad reflection of human nature that so many people, especially the young, ARE so dependant on social media. To share all the trivia of your life with complete strangers is quite pathetic. It's no wonder that it is so easy to manipulate their minds. The worry is that most of these people are eligible to vote and their choice is often the result of influence from the media or 'celebs'.
You may judge them as pathetic but they are happy with the social media and how it connects them in these horrible pandemic times when some of them may be struggling drastically to keep a life line to their lives. Did you know the suicide rate has gone up with the pandemic? They need help and are reaching for it as best they can and I give them credit for doing so and hope they get the help they may need. Most do not share everything with complete strangers by the way...we can give them some credit in their choosing of their audience. FB allow people to choose their audience.
 

katlupe

Well-known Member
Location
Norwich, NY
I understand all that. I have been on social media long before FB and Twitter. I have cut down on my time on all social media lately. I have no plans to quit it, even though I say that at times. Living by myself makes social media and the internet in general the way I connect with people. I have a connection with cousins and school friends who I have not seen in years. Some I figured I'd never see again. Now we talk every day.

I am guilty of posting on my timeline what I am doing. Many of my friends on FB are readers of my blogs or my previous hometeading life. If it wasn't for FB, I would not have any contact with them. I am not a phone person. I am better at writing than talking in person. I used to have a business and 4 blogs and had FB pages for all of them. So it was useful for promoting those. I guess I am not that concerned about what data about me they get because I put it out here for everyone to see.
 

tbeltrans

Senior Member
I don't agree with you. Even though some of our given info. is collected we have a choice of what they get. FB is also for Family and Friends to share their life experiences and other things over the net and especially in these pandemic times when it's not possible to get together in person. Also, it may not be possible to get together personally even when it's not pandemic times as family and friends are spread out all over the world and country. It is a good resource for many to share their lives while choosing the proper FB setting to remain private.

As with many discussions, there are multiple sides and perspectives. I agree with your assessment of Facebook. My wife uses it for that purpose. However, also realize that various aspects of information are "harvested" for the purposes Nathan described. This goes on all the time. Any time we engage the internet for any purpose, there is something about us that can be harvested, such as our email address, content of messages we post in forums or other publicly visible venues, the sites we visit that leave "cookies", and on and on. These things can be, and often are, tracked by somebody depending on the purpose for collecting the information.

So the points brought up in this thread are not mutually exclusive. Rather than supporting a conspiracy theory, I am simply saying that we should be careful as to what we say and do on the internet. I would not be surprised if somebody brings still more information into the discussion that would counter what I am saying, such as the relative safety/anonymity of using the Tor network (what some call the "dark net"), but even there, we still have to "come up for air" to access anything we would be normally using on the internet. The internet is a big space and there are lots of people involved, some for social reasons, some for rather nefarious reasons. So, in actuality, it is all true. :)

Edit:

Thinking about what I wrote here, it might be helpful for me to clarify about "harvesting data". People I have known in the sales and marketing area maintain lists they call "contact lists" - people to contact who they consider potential customers. These contact lists are (were?) consider quite valuable because they serve as valuable tools to generate sales, which in turn generates their income. Typically "harvesting" is all about creating and selling these contact lists to be used for mass emailing, targeted marketing, and such. This is different from hacking your private data to use for identity theft. What I am referring to in this post is the harvesting to build such contact lists, rather than the more nefarious hacking to acquire personal data for identity theft, though that certainly occurs also.

I found it quite interesting to read some of those books on building an internet business because though I have no interest in doing so, I learned a bit about how this stuff works. Aside from having a product (or reselling somebody else's product) the big issue such books address is how to get yourself out there so people know who you are and what you are doing. There is a whole effort and skill set involved in how to get your business at the top of a google search, how to get your business mentioned and linked on other people's web sites and how to build that all-important email contact list. That is big business because there is a lot of money (relative to an individual running a business from home as well as for larger businesses) at stake when it comes to building your customer base, and that is what this type of "harvesting" is all about.

Your contact information is bought and sold all the time, and collecting and maintaining such data is a business with a potentially healthy income of its own. We get junk mail in the regular mail all the time, just as we do get junk emails advertising all manner of stuff. In terms of how the information about who to send this stuff to, the mechanisms are not so surprisingly identical. Have you ever noticed that soon after you start looking around online for certain types of products or regularly visit special interest web sites and forums, you start getting email related to those interests or that once you are identified as a "senior citizen" because you start collecting Social Security or otherwise start getting some sort of benefit such as a reduced rate on certain insurances because you no longer drive to work, that you start getting ad mail directed at older people?

Tony
 
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Nathan

Senior Member
I don't agree with you. Even though some of our given info. is collected we have a choice of what they get. FB is also for Family and Friends to share their life experiences and other things over the net and especially in these pandemic times when it's not possible to get together in person. Also, it may not be possible to get together personally even when it's not pandemic times as family and friends are spread out all over the world and country. It is a good resource for many to share their lives while choosing the proper FB setting to remain private.

Ruthanne, Social media is of course a handy way to stay in touch with family and friends, but my only point is that the social media industry does in fact collect data for resale to marketing firms. True, to a certain extent you can limit what data you share, you just have to be "hands on", read every notice of change in Terms of Service, manually adjust your security & privacy settings, secure your web browser against tracking cookies etc.
 

Pepper

Well-known Member
Location
NYC
It always went on. My first real grownup job was for a major broker who sold names and data from everyone in the U.S. who subscribed to magazines. We would sell these names, that were bought by us, to anyone wanting to fund raise through the mail. I was in the list data department. Sometimes, I'd just flip through names, etc. when I had time to be nosy.
 

tbeltrans

Senior Member
It always went on. My first real grownup job was for a major broker who sold names and data from everyone in the U.S. who subscribed to magazines. We would sell these names, that were bought by us, to anyone wanting to fund raise through the mail. I was in the list data department. Sometimes, I'd just flip through names, etc. when I had time to be nosy.

Agreed. The all valuable contact list. Now, it is just digital data instead of a Rolodex.

Tony
 

Ruthanne

SF VIP
Location
Midwest
As with many discussions, there are multiple sides and perspectives. I agree with your assessment of Facebook. My wife uses it for that purpose. However, also realize that various aspects of information are "harvested" for the purposes Nathan described. This goes on all the time. Any time we engage the internet for any purpose, there is something about us that can be harvested, such as our email address, content of messages we post in forums or other publicly visible venues, the sites we visit that leave "cookies", and on and on. These things can be, and often are, tracked by somebody depending on the purpose for collecting the information.

So the points brought up in this thread are not mutually exclusive. Rather than supporting a conspiracy theory, I am simply saying that we should be careful as to what we say and do on the internet. I would not be surprised if somebody brings still more information into the discussion that would counter what I am saying, such as the relative safety/anonymity of using the Tor network (what some call the "dark net"), but even there, we still have to "come up for air" to access anything we would be normally using on the internet. The internet is a big space and there are lots of people involved, some for social reasons, some for rather nefarious reasons. So, in actuality, it is all true. :)

Edit:

Thinking about what I wrote here, it might be helpful for me to clarify about "harvesting data". People I have known in the sales and marketing area maintain lists they call "contact lists" - people to contact who they consider potential customers. These contact lists are (were?) consider quite valuable because they serve as valuable tools to generate sales, which in turn generates their income. Typically "harvesting" is all about creating and selling these contact lists to be used for mass emailing, targeted marketing, and such. This is different from hacking your private data to use for identity theft. What I am referring to in this post is the harvesting to build such contact lists, rather than the more nefarious hacking to acquire personal data for identity theft, though that certainly occurs also.

I found it quite interesting to read some of those books on building an internet business because though I have no interest in doing so, I learned a bit about how this stuff works. Aside from having a product (or reselling somebody else's product) the big issue such books address is how to get yourself out there so people know who you are and what you are doing. There is a whole effort and skill set involved in how to get your business at the top of a google search, how to get your business mentioned and linked on other people's web sites and how to build that all-important email contact list. That is big business because there is a lot of money (relative to an individual running a business from home as well as for larger businesses) at stake when it comes to building your customer base, and that is what this type of "harvesting" is all about.

Your contact information is bought and sold all the time, and collecting and maintaining such data is a business with a potentially healthy income of its own. We get junk mail in the regular mail all the time, just as we do get junk emails advertising all manner of stuff. In terms of how the information about who to send this stuff to, the mechanisms are not so surprisingly identical. Have you ever noticed that soon after you start looking around online for certain types of products or regularly visit special interest web sites and forums, you start getting email related to those interests or that once you are identified as a "senior citizen" because you start collecting Social Security or otherwise start getting some sort of benefit such as a reduced rate on certain insurances because you no longer drive to work, that you start getting ad mail directed at older people?

Tony
And that is exactly why I keep all my contact and private information such as email, phone, birth date and friends private--only for my viewing..and anyone can set their settings to that in the privacy settings.
 

Ruthanne

SF VIP
Location
Midwest
Ruthanne, Social media is of course a handy way to stay in touch with family and friends, but my only point is that the social media industry does in fact collect data for resale to marketing firms. True, to a certain extent you can limit what data you share, you just have to be "hands on", read every notice of change in Terms of Service, manually adjust your security & privacy settings, secure your web browser against tracking cookies etc.
Thanks, I do that and will continue to.:)
 

ActiveLife2020

New Member
For last 3 years, I no longer login to FB due to bad quality of contents. Frankly I feel the same way about most News media (cable or network). These days, most new and social media posters are eager to say something shocking to grab attention. Without any consequence, social media content will continue to be 'anything goes'

Only social media I use now is Twitter to follow few key individuals
 

Jules

Well-known Member
Location
Beautiful BC
Besides some sharing with friends, I belong to some specialty groups re health, etc. There has been some very helpful information shared. If nothing else, it confirms you’re not alone and I have learned a lot from them.
 

ManjaroKDE

Member
A few days ago I signed up for a free PBS.com trial week through Amazon Prime. I decided it wasn't a good move for someone who has the propensity to over react to conspiracies. I like both NOVA and Frontline with some belief that they may keep bias our of the subject matter, I have had that tested over time. Watching some older Frontline archives one that perked my interest was about tracking on the social media sites by NSA and the people at various sites, namely 9 that are well known.

The program started out talking about Snowdon (the whistleblower at NSA) then moved onto what transpired after 911. It was unsettling to me and not politically directed. I started it because of my poor understanding of the details surrounding the incident. To say it was disturbing to me would have put it mildly. Anyway after 3 hours, I came away with a different opinion of the players, and my renewed quest to get off the grid as much as possible.
 

RFW

Certified Night Owl
Location
United States
Here is some of what the makers of this technology said about social media:

  • Its is designed to manipulate us, control us.
  • Everything you do online is being watched, tracked, measured. Every action you take is recorded. What image you looked at, and for how long you looked at it.
  • Based on what you're doing, they know when you are lonely, depressed, introvert or extrovert. All this data is being collected about us whether you know it or not.
  • What do they do with this data? They build computer "models" to predict our actions.
  • All your clicks, likes, pictures you've seen, videos, what you share.
  • They can predict what emotions trigger you.
  • Keeping you engaged and looking at the screen is their business model. How much of your life can we get you to give to us.
  • Addiction and manipulation based technology environment.
  • Its the Gradual slight imperceptible change in your own behavior that IS the product. Changing what you do, how you think, who you are.
I know this is an old thread but I hope it's not too late to add my two cents to it.

Most of you have probably seen this concept and its effect in real life and portrayed in movies but the best visual representation I have seen so far of this is in a show called Westworld which is a remake of a 1973 movie by the same name. The show's first season takes the main idea of the movie and expands on it while introducing new and present day ideas in subsequential seasons in which the third season centers around this topic. I'll summarize the whole plot below (minor spoiler) but if you are interested and have time to spare, I do highly recommend watching all seasons from the beginning.

The third season introduces a new antagonist who, as a child, had his entire city destroyed during World War III and barely escaped with his brother. Together, they created Rehoboam, the most advanced AI known to man, in hopes of preventing future conflicts. It uses surveillance data, internet, social media, pretty much everything that has digital footprints, to determine a person's worth and predict their future. Not only that, it also influences almost every aspect of everyday life, telling people what to do, what to think. Those who think otherwise are punished without due process. Sound familiar?

There is also another new character who represents a minimum wage, hardworking veteran trying to adjust to civilian life while also taking care of his dying mother. She's denied further care and treatment as the system calculates her chance of survival as highly unlikely.
The AI also identifies him as an "outlier" due to his PTSD and the criminal activities he's involved in in order to earn enough money for his mother's treatment. Outlier is a word used to describe a person whose future the system can't correctly predict and, therefore, must be eliminated. This also includes the antagonist's brother, who was also killed, showing just how much the antagonist believes in the idea and how it will lead to everlasting peace at the cost of humanity's free will and individuality.

In my opinion, it is a great piece of entertainment to show people who are either still on the fence or not convinced of it yet in a way that doesn't feel forced, one sided or preachy. You can watch just the third season if you are only interested in this topic, but the show as a whole is very thought provoking and delves into other real world issues such as slavery, human nature, existence, etc.
 

OneEyedDiva

Well-known Member
Location
New Jersey
I joined Facebook reluctantly because my family members were on it. Then I found out that many of my very first online friends joined after we were left "abandoned" by Eons.com had joined. Then I started being able to connect with more and more family members, which has been rewarding. Yeah, I know all about the tracking and using info, but if you're online at all, it's happening anyway. There are things in place that you can protect your privacy, at least a little bit, while on FB.
 

Aunt Bea

SF VIP
Location
Near Mount Pilot
It's interesting that we live in an age where we choose one form of social media to complain about another form of social media.

I use FB and am ok if FB uses me to pay the bills.

When they start charging a subscription fee for social media I'll find another way to stay in touch with family and friends.
 

Judycat

Well-known Member
Location
Pennsylvania
Never had an interest in Facebook. Don't know why. I have an account, but never go there. I feel the same about email. I'll check it every couple of months to delete the thousands of postings left by people I don't know. A lot of them are Facebook friend requests. Family keeps in touch through text messaging and Snapchat videos.
 

RFW

Certified Night Owl
Location
United States
It's interesting that we live in an age where we choose one form of social media to complain about another form of social media.

I use FB and am ok if FB uses me to pay the bills.

When they start charging a subscription fee for social media I'll find another way to stay in touch with family and friends.
Of course it is perfectly fine to use any social platform you like but I think it's also important to be aware of the implications behind it and how it affects you and if it is something you are okay with. The keyword being "awareness". You can use the knowledge however you want.
 

Aunt Bea

SF VIP
Location
Near Mount Pilot
Of course it is perfectly fine to use any social platform you like but I think it's also important to be aware of the implications behind it and how it affects you and if it is something you are okay with. The keyword being "awareness". You can use the knowledge however you want.
I agree.

Like the old bumper sticker says, nobody rides for free.
 

Becky1951

🌹
Location
Tennessee
Never had an interest in Facebook. Don't know why. I have an account, but never go there. I feel the same about email. I'll check it every couple of months to delete the thousands of postings left by people I don't know. A lot of them are Facebook friend requests. Family keeps in touch through text messaging and Snapchat videos.
The next time you check FB go to your FB settings and change it to private, that way you only get posts from people on your friends list. When it's set for public, anyone can see it and post. Yours must be set for public.
 

ActiveLife2020

New Member
I am well aware of Social media but rarely post any comment or reaction in any commonly known social media like FB, TWTR, TicToc. Assuming this forum is for more matured individuals who has great life experience to share w/ others.

As Technical expert, worked over 30 yrs in corporate environment and observed major digital transformation over last 20 years. The pandamic definitely fast-forwarded Digital adoption around the world in last 2 yrs. I consider social media platforms are at early stage of maturity. At this time, there is no regulation to deliver incentive/consequence to Social media platforms or users. When rules are minimal to none, then almost anything goes...

Social media is here to stay, international regulations will address known shortcomings in coming years. Until than, I just want to be a reader on common social media platforms.
 

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