Living for Likes?

 We all “share” online personal info, selfies, opinions, anecdotes, arguments etc… pretty addictive and overwhelming…anyone remember life before social media? it’s becoming a memory… this is scary stuff coming up, so read with an open mind… 
First, he’s an article from The New York Times, about how fb, by their own admission, “tested” their users, by manipulating the positive/negative overtones of their threads.

PASSAGE FROM THE ARTICLE: Facebook routinely adjusts its users’ news feeds — testing out the number of ads they see or the size of photos that appear — often without their knowledge. It is all for the purpose, the company says, of creating a more alluring and useful product.

But last week, Facebook revealed that it had manipulated the news feeds of over half a million randomly selected users to change the number of positive and negative posts they saw. It was part of a psychological study to examine how emotions can be spread on social media.

The company says users consent to this kind of manipulation when they agree to its terms of service. But in the quick judgment of the Internet, that argument was not universally accepted.

“I wonder if Facebook KILLED anyone with their emotion manipulation stunt. At their scale and with depressed people out there, it’s possible,” the privacy activist Lauren Weinstein wrote in a Twitter post.



“You hear all the platitudes about Facebook connecting the planet, but to say they are doing it for benevolent reasons is absolute nonsense. It’s about connecting commerce, not people,” says venture capitalist and former journalist Om Malik, who reminds us of the hidden agenda of social networking firms: if you’re not paying, you’re the product.

Facebook – which made $5.8bn of revenue in the last three months of 2015 – is able to make money from its users not just because of that unprecedented audience, but the amount of time they spend on the service. In the US the average 18- to 34-year-old spends 30 hours per month on social networking services, and 26 of those are on Facebook, according to analysts at ComScore.

Every click, every like, every comment and every connection is used to build up a rich profile of each user. Brands can then pay Facebook to target users based on their age, location, relationship status and interests. This is how Facebook makes its money – profiles of us that advertisers adore.”

Here is the whole article – at least read it and then decide

Mike’s thoughts: It would seem possible that Zuckerberg buys his competition – or at least attempts to – when he sees another platform as a threat. It seems his ideal world would have us all “connected” with he himself as some type of omnipotent overlord. We all seem quick to judge or be suspicious of  political figures and government agencies and rightly so … but Zuckerberg is a bit different… he has not been elected…. he has risen to “power and influence” through the platform he has created, marketed and advanced to the point that many of us can’t imagine life without it. 

So if Zuckerberg sees an opportunity, he is quick to grab it. He seeks “influence” to put it nicely. “Connection” is a priority. But if you end up “friend requesting” everyone  you meet , and “engaging in social media” at every opportunity, where and when is the time and energy left for a “non online existence?” 

Are we all supposed to be so plugged in that we cannot “afford” to plug out … or at least take a day off? Do we really want some type of universal mind meld….? Is this healthy? Legal? 
Mark Zuckerberg meets China’s Propaganda Chief, Liu Yunshan, in Beijing. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock



“Liu Yunshan told Zuckerberg that he hopes Facebook can share its experience with Chinese companies to help “internet development better benefit the people of all countries”, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Zuckerberg was in Beijing to attend an economic forum.

China has called for the creation of a global internet “governance system” and cooperation between countries to regulate internet use, stepping up efforts to promote controls that activists complain stifle free expression.

Facebook and other western social media companies including Twitter are banned in China. Zuckerberg has long been courting China’s leaders in a so far futile attempt to access the country with the world’s largest number of Internet users — 668 million as of last year.

China has been increasing control over its internet, dubbed the Great Firewall because it is already heavily censored. Liu, a member of the ruling Communist party’s leadership panel, the politburo standing committee, recently said that internet users must not cross the “baseline” when discussing China’s governance.

Chinese censors have introduced a slate of new regulations to better enable them to police digital and social media as closely as traditional publications. The country’s internet regulator has repeatedly warned that an untamed cyberspace would pose a risk to domestic security and the government should decide who to allow into “its house”.”

 Third Article:

Mike’s thoughts: So when Zuckerberg has his choice to make between respecting his consumers privacy versus whatever benefits he can imagine from conforming to China’s policies to gain even more consumers… which route do you honestly think he will go? By that time, will any of us bother to care anymore, let alone “do anything” about it? 

We may be quick to take this all for granted or say “It’s just part of life these days” or “I have nothing to hide” or “I need it to network and keep in touch with my friends!” or whatever… so make your own conclusions but at least worth a read…

At the end of the day, it seems “harmless” enough and even “vital” and “mandatory”  to be “transparent” and “part of the online community”, “in touch” with an “online presence”. But at what cost? To what extend do we allow – and encourage – our humanity to be sacrificed for the carrot and reward of online approval? 

Do we all really need such an all encompassing ‘cyber hug?’ Will our dependence on social media numb us like lamb to whatever potential slaughter we end up too stupid to see coming? 


Are we all just “living for likes?” 

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