Social Media — How Has It Evolved To Control Us?!

Modest Manipulation to Clueless Chaos!

How Does Social Media “Really” Work Today?

Social Media runs on a set of algorithms; it is an analytic model designed to predict our thinking patterns, behaviors, personalities, and actions to the maximum certainty. These platforms were created by big tech companies who are constantly competing with each other to seek our attention. And the company with the best model to predict us sells this certainty of our attention to the advertisers and other stakeholders, who use it to reach out to us and influence us in the way they want.

How do these algorithms hold so much power over us?

Social Media is like a third eye watching everyone and not just that, but an eye that can further control everyone. Even the smallest information about users counts as data, like how many minutes does a person spend on a particular platform, who are the followers and what posts are being ‘saved’, ‘liked’, ‘deleted’ or just ‘scrolled through’. Details like what contacts are starred and what names are blocked, when is the person most active and what are the different responses to the online content, everything is monitored and used to make an accurate predictive model for that person.

From Modest Manipulation to Clueless Chaos!

Social media platforms have managed to reach such a deep level into people’s brains and plant ideas there to get the maximum growth while people are left utterly clueless about it happening. These platforms have shifted from being a tool-based technology to an addiction-manipulation based technology. With the algorithms getting smarter and smarter with every passing day, today they can convince humans of anything, thus landing humans in more significant problems like polarization, cyber crimes, disinformation, mental health problems, and the list goes on and on.

Did Social Media evolve?

These big tech companies might have not set out to manipulate people, instead, it was the need of having great predictions and further monetizing this need to the maximum extent without any moral and ethical checks over the implementation, that sabotaged the goal. Social Media is no longer a platform for communication but a playground for human psychology to be experimented with to get maximum benefits and a marketplace that trades in human futures.

How do we proceed then?

As the world moves further into the age of smart technology, we must remember that the math of these algorithms is not authoritarian, biased, or manipulative. It is the humans designing them that are to be held responsible for setting their goals not appropriately and for forgetting the moral responsibility that they have towards the society. Even, the users are to be held accountable for not calling out to technology that rules out their choices. It will be a collective effort to re-build these social media platforms to make them a part of human-based technology!

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