Archive for the ‘Smear tactic’ Category

Dangers of social media controlling minds – ‘A web of totalitarian control’

January 31, 2018

By Linda Shelton; extracted from SOROS SPEECH AT DAVOS 1/26/18 and The Guardian report of speech = ” A Menace to Society”.

Social media companies influence how people think and behave without them even being aware of it.

Social media monopolies control minds-a few people in world determine what you will read.

Social media induces people to give up their mind autonomy – believe anything that is Tweeted without checking facts.

This is a most subtle form of mind-control. They tell you what you want to hear as long as you are encouraged to not check facts or understand the deeper issues.

Social media converts populations’ thinking into mindless whipped-up sheep to the slaughter or mob mentality.

Social media acts like snake-oil salesmen who convince all the housewives in a neighborhood to buy a useless product because of their charisma & targeted generalized statements about how they need the product= brainwashing gullible.

Social media , “monopolistic behavior” has made them a “menace” to society, damaging democracy, and encouraging “addiction” akin to gambling companies

Casinos have developed techniques to hook gamblers to the point where they gamble away all their money, even money they don’t have. Social media is no different.

Social media can be very harmful, particularly for adolescents, manipulating impressionable minds.

This similarity between internet platforms and gambling companies is a ‘A web of totalitarian control’.

There could be an alliance between authoritarian states and these large, data-rich IT monopolies that would bring together systems of corporate surveillance with an already developed system of state-sponsored surveillance.

Internet monopolies have neither the will nor the inclination to protect society against the consequences of their actions.

Social media has far-reaching adverse consequences on the functioning of democracy, particularly on the integrity of elections.

We can draw a line between the growth of tech company fortunes and rising inequality.

Companies earn their profits by exploiting their environment. Mining and oil companies exploit the physical environment; social media companies exploit the social environment.

Facebook and Google have grown into ever more powerful monopolies, they have become obstacles to innovation, eating up start-ups, and they have caused a variety of problems of which we are only now beginning to become aware.

The distinguishing feature of internet platform companies is that they are networks and they enjoy rising marginal returns ; the more people that use them, the higher their profits.

Facebook and Google effectively control over half of all internet advertising revenue.

To maintain their dominance, they need to expand their networks and increase their share of users’ attention.

Currently they do this by providing users with a convenient platform. The more time users spend on the platform, the more valuable they become to the companies.

Content providers also contribute to the profitability of social media companies because they cannot avoid using the platforms and they have to accept whatever terms they are offered.

The exceptional profitability of these companies is largely a function of their avoiding responsibility for– and avoiding paying for– the content on their platforms. 

They claim they are merely distributing information, but don’t let known that they merely seek the highest bidder for mind-control for profits.

The fact that they are near- monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulations, aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access.

The business model of social media companies is based on advertising.

Social medias’  true customers are the advertisers.

Gradually a new business model for social media is emerging, based not only on advertising, but on selling products and services directly to users.

They exploit the data they control, bundle the services they offer and use discriminatory pricing to keep for themselves more of the benefits that otherwise they would have to share with consumers.

This enhances their profitability even further – but the bundling of services and discriminatory pricing undermine the efficiency of the market economy.

Social media companies deceive their users by manipulating their attention and directing it towards their own commercial purposes.

They deliberately engineer addiction to the services they provide, leading to ever seeking higher numbers of users. Facebook got 1 billion users in 8 yrs, 2 billion 4 yrs later, & will run out of potential users in 3 yrs.

Profits of Facebook and Google come largely because they refuse to take responsibility for (“and avoid paying for”) the content on their platforms.

Social media companies are inducing people to give up their autonomy.

The power to shape people’s attention is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies. It takes a real effort to assert and defend what John Stuart Mill called “the freedom of mind.” There is a possibility that once lost, people who grow up in the digital age will have difficulty in regaining it. This may have far-reaching political consequences.

People without the freedom of mind can be easily manipulated.

This danger does not loom only in the future; it already played an important role in the 2016 US presidential elections.

But there is an even more alarming prospect on the horizon. There could be an alliance between authoritarian states and these large, data-rich IT monopolies that would bring together systems of corporate surveillance with an already developed system of state-sponsored surveillance.

This may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined.

The countries in which such unholy marriages are likely to occur first are Russia and China. The Chinese IT companies in particular are equal to the American ones. They also enjoy the full support and protection of the Xi Jingping regime. The government of China is strong enough to protect its national champions, at least within its borders.

US-based IT monopolies are already tempted to compromise themselves in order to gain entrance to these vast and fast growing markets. The dictatorial leaders in these countries may be happy to collaborate with them since they want to improve their methods of control over their own populations and expand their power and influence in the United States and the rest of the world.

The concentration of social media share ownership in the hands of a few private individuals plays some role but the peculiar position occupied by the IT giants is even more important.

They have achieved monopoly power but at the same time they are also competing against each other.

They are big enough to swallow start-ups that could develop into competitors, but only the giants have the resources to invade each other’s territory.

They are poised to dominate the new growth areas that artificial intelligence is opening up, like driverless cars.

The impact of innovations on unemployment depends on government policies.

The European Union and particularly the Nordic countries are much more farsighted in their social policies than the United States. They protect the workers, not the jobs.

They are willing to pay for re-training or retiring displaced workers. This gives workers in Nordic countries a greater sense of security and makes them supportive of technological innovations than workers in the US.

The internet monopolies have neither the will nor the inclination to protect society against the consequences of their actions. That turns them into a menace and it falls to the regulatory authorities to protect society against them.

In the US, the regulators are not strong enough to stand up against their political influence. The European Union is better situated because it does not have any platform giants of its own.

The European Union uses a different definition of monopoly power from the United States.

US law enforcement focuses primarily on monopolies created by acquisitions,

EU law prohibits the abuse of monopoly power irrespective of how it is achieved.

Europe has much stronger privacy and data protection laws than America.

US law has adopted a strange doctrine: it measures harm as an increase in the price paid by customers for services received – and that is almost impossible to prove when most services are provided for free. This leaves out of consideration the valuable data platform companies collect from their users.

Commissioner Vestager is the champion of the European approach. It took the EU seven years to build a case against Google, but as a result of her success the process has been greatly accelerated.

Due to her proselytizing, the European approach has begun to affect attitudes in the United States as well. social media near- monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulations, aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access.

Regulation and taxation will be their undoing and EU Competition Commissioner Vestager will be their nemesis.

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Lets End Politics of Fears, Smears, and Defamation – That’s for the Third World!

November 16, 2008

This is my comment in response to a post about President-Elect Obama and William Ayers on “Illinois Review” an ultraconservative Illinois blog written by honorable people, who have a very rigid philosophy. They made a mistake in their article stating that Ayers was a Professor at the University of Chicago, where Obama once taught. The article suggests that Obama should be faulted for promoting ideas of radical activists against the Vietnam war (domestic terrorism) that were those of Ayers 40 years ago.

First William Ayers is NOT a professor at the University of Chicago. He is a professor at the University of Illinois.

Second, I do agree with Ayers that guilt by association and false assumption about why Obama and Ayers met or what they said to each other is despicable.

For example, I met Fred Hampton Jr. at a lecture involving law professors and an important area of law. This does not mean I am a Black Panther supporter! To say that about me would be PURE and UNETHICAL defamation of character.

The statement that Obama “pals around with terrorists” is no different – PURE and UNETHICAL defamation of character of Obama. It has nothing to do with the despicable acts done by Ayers in the past.

Third, I personally will vote against ANY candidate in the future who continues to use such unethical tactics in his/her campaign.

There is a reason the Republic Party is on a severe decline. This is one of them. The Republican Party was severely hurt by their unethical tactics using Ayers in this fraudulent manner. That is why we need new leadership in the Republican party. Politics of fear, smears, and defamation must be buried. That is part of the American dream.

In response to my comment the editor of “Illinois Review” wrote what I believe to be an inappropriate comment falsely suggesting I (and Obama) support domestic terrorism. Clearly I said no such thing and the editor is trying to put words in my mouth. This kind of remark will not help rebuild the Illinois Republican Party:

What’s it like to defend a domestic terrorist? The message you’re trying to get us to swallow is that it really wasn’t that bad to firebomb police, judges, and the Pentagon. You’re trying to tell us that it was excusable to attack public servants because he didn’t like what they were doing?


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