How social media is affecting the mass and changing peoples’ ideologies.

I am Nisarg, and I have a particular interest in Data Science. The given thoughts belong to me and my beliefs.

We all know that social media and the internet are a boon for all of us. Especially in the current times. People are becoming aware of world events and can give their opinion without any fear, people can speak, show, and discuss their views in front of the world. It’s amazing, right? In the history of humankind, it’s the first time that some big issues like racism, LGBTQ issue, terrorism, and many more problems have been discussed and opposed in all parts of the world. From the children to the old, everyone is aware of each and every political or global issue. So what’s the problem with this?

Now, let’s see the whole thing from a new angle, the angle where data comes and manipulation comes along. We know that everything on the web is been stored and seen by the respective company owners. So every opinion, from every region and community is visible to “someone”. And when there is data, we can perform analysis and make predictions. So your one post, represents your thought process, ideology, inclination, and opinion along with your personal, professional, and geographical data. The change in ideas, when you meet a person, or change in location, or after buying a book can be easily tracked and stored. Every video you see on YouTube, the pattern of choosing it after the older one, and liking or disliking it, shows your POV on each topic.

I can know everything about you, just by looking at your Instagram profile and suggestions, and YouTube history. The posts you like and the videos you share, completely describe you. Scary, isn’t it? Not yet, the scariest part is now. Each and every bit of your life is being stored somewhere, that someone can see. Now, who are those “Someone”. They can be anyone, who are in power, with money, or someone who wants power. “Data is the new oil”, we all have heard this, but why so? It is because, like oil, data is costly. The reason to buy a large data can be described as follow. Let’s take a scenario, imagine you meet a person, who has similar interests to you, and you become friends. Now that person and you discuss different things, you laugh at jokes, and you sometimes conflict on some point. But the person is smart and has an agenda to make you believe in his preferred ideology, that doesn’t match with you. So first he will listen to you, then argue on things and argues with you by supporting his thoughts. After some time, you will consider those ideas and may change your perception.

So, the person is us, the users of these websites and apps and the new friend are the people in power and who pay these platforms to implant their ideologies to a large group. If you have observed, how some memes make you laugh on some sensitive topics and after sometime, you find the topic laughable. This means, your beliefs have been manipulated by someone. There are some elections those has been won just by these activities, and also some crimes or usage of illegal things are forced to normalize by certain groups of people.

Have you observed one major thing? In almost every social media platform, the dislike button has been removed or was not there. ie. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. They have only a like button, and YouTube has a dislike button but one cannot see how many dislikes a video has got. Similarly, Reddit also has a dislike option but it doesn’t show how many dislikes one post has. For YouTube, some people believe, they removed the dislike button because they got so many dislikes on their own video, or it discourages the creator. Is it so? The answer is NO. These platforms don’t want you to see the dislikes and other people’s negative feedback. So when you see 1000 likes on a post or video, you think it’s the right thing in that so as per the herd mentality, you accept the stuff. Whereas that post or video got 5000 dislikes, no one gets to know that side. So congrats, your brain has been manipulated!!!

At last, I will say one thing. Data is not the new oil, but the new alcohol, which makes you like a drunk, and brings you in a vulnerable state where you believe what they want you to. This spreads hatred among communities and can affect your mental peace. So, listen to your parents and stay away from social media as you can.

Peace!!!

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