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

Social Media is no longer a mere platform for communication but also a playground for human psychology and a marketplace that trades in human futures.

Modest Manipulation to Clueless Chaos!

When was the last time one may have checked his messages? Surprisingly, any regular human checks his phone once every 6 minutes, and 80% of the time, it is used for text messaging or checking out the other social media platforms. It is then natural to wonder if social media has now become equivalent to oxygen for human beings. They are so profoundly incorporated into a person’s daily life that people have become incapable of spending even a single day without media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and many others.

However, isn’t it funny that a few lines of mysterious code have come, to control, to quite an extent what kind of a person we think we are and our entire present and future lives? Rather, it’s scarier than it’s funny!

How Does Social Media “Really” Work Today?

The seemingly free services of social media aren’t free; we are the product being sold here! And it is not just our attention that is the product because in that case, we are still accountable, but like Jaron Lanier said, “It is the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in our behavior and perception that is the real product.”

How do these algorithms hold so much power over us?

These models can predict everything about a person, their past, present, or future, and that gives them the power to control anyone. Because now these media platforms can customize the content in ways they want, and serve it to the users, however they desire to. The algorithms can make the system biased and can be used to trigger a person, make one opinionated about something, or at best change one to something he is not.

From Modest Manipulation to Clueless Chaos!

Did Social Media evolve?

To begin with, these were only platforms for us to stay connected with the people to decrease the communication gap created due to distance, and form a closer community of humans. However, looking at the world today, the plan may have backfired. Humans aren’t any closer than before, to be very honest, people just moved farther away from each other and the nature around them. Everyone seems to be living in this different delusional and fake world online, and now that very world has started to control them in real life. So the meaning of communication has become analogous to manipulation and deceit just crawled to the center of everything we do.

How do we proceed then?

Tristan Harris has wonderfully explained this in his famous TED talk given here.

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