Posts Tagged ‘social media’

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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Similarities between Trumpism & McCarthyism

April 25, 2016

edward r murrow

Edward R Murrow

Joseph McCarth

Sen. Joseph McCarthy

 

donald trump

Donald Trump

 

In the  1950s Sen. McCarthy’s Committee on Unamerican Activities goal was to expose and destroy communist activities in the U.S. [the RED SCARE]. Communism was feared in the way right wing Republican party members now fear “Islamic terrorism” and conflate it with the Islamic religion.

I ask how Trumpism is different from McCarthyism?

McCarthyism [the following four paragraphs are from Wikipedia’s post on McCarthyism] is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means “the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.”[1] The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from 1950 to 1956 and characterized by heightenedpolitical repression against communists, as well as a campaign spreading fear of their influence on American institutions and of espionage bySoviet agents. Originally coined to criticize the anti-communist pursuits of Republican U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, “McCarthyism” soon took on a broader meaning, describing the excesses of similar efforts. The term is also now used more generally to describe reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries.

During the McCarthy era, thousands of Americans were accused of being communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators and union activists. Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, and the level of threat posed by a person’s real or supposed leftist associations or beliefs was often greatly exaggerated. Many people suffered loss of employment and/or destruction of their careers; some even suffered imprisonment. Most of these punishments came about through trial verdicts later overturned,[2] laws that were later declared unconstitutional,[3]dismissals for reasons later declared illegal[4] or actionable,[5] or extra-legal procedures that would come into general disrepute.

The most notable examples of McCarthyism include the speeches, investigations, and hearings of Senator McCarthy himself; the Hollywood blacklist, associated with hearings conducted by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC); and the various anti-communist activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under Director J. Edgar Hoover. McCarthyism was a widespread social and cultural phenomenon that affected all levels of society and was the source of a great deal of debate and conflict in the United States. [ Many in Hollywood went underground and were forced to use pseudonyms to get their plays staged and their movies filmed and produced – due to defamation of their character as the dreaded communist, perhaps for something as minor as being a member of a communist club in college]

There were also more subtle forces encouraging the rise of McCarthyism. It had long been a practice of more conservative politicians to refer to progressive reforms such as child labor laws and women’s suffrage as “Communist” or “Red plots.”[7] This tendency increased in the 1930s in reaction to the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Many conservatives equated the New Deal with socialism or Communism, and saw its policies as evidence that the government had been heavily influenced by Communist policy-makers in the Roosevelt administration.[8] In general, the vaguely defined danger of “Communist influence” was a more common theme in the rhetoric of anti-Communist politicians than was espionage or any other specific activity.

No doubt that McCarthy would have considered social security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, voting rights, and many other social programs as communists plots.

The great CBS reporter and commentator, Edward R. Murrowbroke the back of McCarthy’s era of terror and injustice with the following public statement that I believe applies today to Trumpism in his witch hunt against Muslims and immigrants as well as it applied to McCarthyism’s witch hunting communism, acknowledging the role of media in perpetrating this dark part of our collective history in America:

by Edward R. Murrow, modified by Linda Lorincz Shelton for today’s Trumpism – 

Earlier, the Senator [McCarthy] asked, “Upon what meat does this, our Caesar, feed?” Had he looked three lines earlier in Shakespeare’s Caesar, he would have found this line, which is not altogether inappropriate: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful.

It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin [Trump and the Benghazi Committee] ha[ve] stepped over it repeatedly.

His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism [terrorism].

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.

We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

We will not walk in fear, one of another.

We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.

This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s  [Trump’s] methods to keep silent, or for those who approve.

We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result.

There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities.

As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age.

We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. [We cannot desert religious freedom, the 1st Amendment by condemning all Muslims as terrorists no more than we can condemn Southern White Protestants as KKK lynchers and murderers.]

The actions [speeches] of the junior Senator from Wisconsin [Trump] have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. [They’re even being used by Al Quida for recruitment videos –  to show how much the infidels hate Muslims.]

And whose fault is that? Not really his. [Trump] didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it — and rather successfully. Cassius was right. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

Good night, and good luck.

[and don’t forget how the media (mainstream and social) have exploited fear and disseminated mis-information about Islam, Muslims, terrorism, and foreign relations.]
[extracts from – transcribed 7/20/06 by G. Handman from DVD, The McCarthy Years(Edward R. Murrow Collection)]


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