November 11, 2014
Facebook is a problem.
It is undoubtedly being used by special interests to manipulate and monitor entire populations both within the United States and well beyond. It represents a tool that in no way serves the people actually using it, and instead allows special interests to use the users.
It is a dream global panopticon for the abusive dictators that run Western society and presume dominion over what they call an "international order." But in order to counter this threat, Facebook cannot simply be "replaced."
It specifically, and what it represents,
At the center of these controversies is Facebook's "news feed" feature. Ideally, news feed would work by showing on your timeline updates from those individuals and organizations you follow.
There are two options for news feed - "most recent" and "top stories."
Facebook has decided to upend this feature by insidiously
controlling what appears on your news feed regardless of which
option you select.
Facebook's real motivation is more likely a combination of implementing soft-censorship and an effort to monetize news feeds by forcing content makers to pay in order to access people already following them.
What's left is wealthy content makers like large corporate media outfits monopolizing the public's attention whether the public wants it or not.
News feed has also been used in at least two involuntary social engineering experiments where the news feeds of users were manipulated without their knowledge to influence them psychologically. In the most recently exposed experiment, Facebook manipulated the news feed of some 2 million Americans in 2012 in order to increase public participation during that year's US presidential election.
A report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) titled, "Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks," stated in its abstract that:
Those involved in the experiment were neither notified before nor after the experiment was conducted, and along with news feed manipulation during the 2012 election, it appears Facebook sees the news feed feature in terms of influencing people as Facebook and its clients see fit rather than the feature being used to inform users as they themselves see fit.
What Facebook is essentially is a massive, global, digital "Skinner box."
Also known as a operant conditioning chamber, a
Skinner box conditions a subject - usually an animal - to
perform certain behaviors by controlling positive and negative
stimuli regulated within the box. Pressing the correct lever
would provide, for example, food pellets, while pressing the
wrong lever would provide a painful electric shock.
There is no telling what other experiments
or ongoing manipulations Facebook users might be subjected to,
and whether or not other IT monopolies like Google are using
similar means to influence, manipulate, and condition the
behavior of users.
Should Facebook's 1 billion plus user base migrate over to Ello,
would there be anything to stop special interests from simply
co-opting and corrupting its basic premise of not manipulating
users or invading their privacy? Most likely not.
In other words, decentralizing social networking so that no single network controls the information, rules, and regulations that define social networking in general.
On a global scale this is already being done.
Nations like Russia, China, Iran, and others have produced their own indigenous versions of Facebook - separate from not only Facebook's monopoly, but the intrusive, abusive exploitation of that monopoly by corporate-financier interests on Wall Street and in the City of London.
Russia's VK.com for example, boasts 120 million users around the world and within Russia itself, is the most popular social networking site, by far eclipsing Facebook's market share.
Western media criticizes VK as a tool of the Kremlin, in light
of recent scandals exposed in the West, the same could be said
of Wall Street and London's use of Facebook.
Further decentralization - in fact -
infinite decentralization should be the ultimate goal.
They are built around interests in entertainment, skills and hobbies, commerce, political ideology, religion, and many other personal interests. While one must become a member of these forums to participate, anyone can search the Internet and find threads containing useful information.
It would be difficult to find the "Facebook" of
Internet forums - because while there are very large and
well-known forums - there is no monopoly.
Imagine tools like RSS feed that allows users from one social network to follow user updates on another social network without actually joining that network.
Imagine being able to take your information and import it into a new social network if for whatever reason you decided you no longer like the rules, regulations, and practices of the network you were currently in - tools like WordPress' import options that allow Blogger users to migrate over along with all their previous Blogger content.
Facebook and undoubtedly VK and other large social networks have various groups of disenfranchised users who are unable to use these networks as they truly desire.
Facebook has faced criticism for demanding users to use their real names to create profiles. Minority groups that prefer anonymity could create their own social network to cater specifically to their interests and agenda.
They could follow popular feeds from other
social networks, but preserve their own community created by,
for, and of themselves.
With hundreds if not thousands of these interconnected but ultimately independent networks cropping up, it will be impossible for monopolistic interests to co-opt, control, or censor them all, or even a majority of them.