The Times is only on the story to hurt Donald Trump of course, but they have nonetheless brought it up. And most of the commenters at The Times’ website saw through the ridiculous Blue/Red sideshow. They ignored it and got to the real issues. Here’s one snip:
Can we just say it? Facebook is evil. Its entire raison d’etre is the balkanization of communities and nations in pursuit of financial profit. It monetizes and sells the most intimate details of private human relationships.
Here’s another that gets to the core:
Power in 21st Century comes from influencing people’s choices without their knowledge. Age of mass customization has arrived with weaponizing these techniques.
What the Article Says
In brief, the article notes that Republican donors, through the efforts of someone with connections to the Obama campaigns, hired a company called Cambridge Analytica to produce psychological (“psychographic”) profiles of millions of Americans, in hopes of “using personality profiling to shift America’s culture.”
To do this they obtained detailed Facebook data on 50 million people. And used it.
From there the article descends into minutia. (How they got the Facebook data, whether a Russian person worked at Cambridge Analytica, and so on.)
What the Article Didn’t Say
What The Times left out was that the Hillary campaign did almost the same thing and with the enthusiastic support of Google. And make no mistake, this is the new model for all politicians, and they will not give it up. They’ll just be more careful in the future… that is, if The Times article is of lasting effect. (You can be sure that Facebook will be steering its billion-plus users away from the subject.)
The Parasite Model
Facebook, Google, and all the free services operate as parasites. So do the “discount with card” groceries, etc., etc. All of these operations are pushing you to give them your information, which they will use to manipulate you. And when they’re done manipulating you, they’ll sell your information to others, so they can do the same.
Regardless of how creatively this is justified, it is plainly parasitic.
You Don’t Think the Spies Are in on This?
I wrote a short book with Jonathan Logan explaining how and why the spy agencies are all over this. And as we noted in it, both Google and Facebook have the ability to deeply surveil and manipulate billions of people at once. Any spies who didn’t use this would be abject fools.
Where This Ends Up
Again to be very brief (see the book linked above for details), this ends up where the Chinese are already taking it: rewarding “good” citizens and punishing “bad” citizens.
However covered up and prettied up, this is what serves rulers, and this is what they’ll do to servile people… however long they can.
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A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:
- I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
- Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
- There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
- Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.
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