At the start of this year, I decided to quit Facebook and hid over half of my Viber newsgroups. I ended up much happier. With the time I had, I took video exercise classes in a space next to my bed, read more, was more productive with household chores, and spent more time with it. the dog.
I’ve always heard from me, read newspapers online, and reviewed long articles from The Atlantic. In fact, I wish we had had detailed and detailed articles in a news magazine here, but our country is consistently on these ten worst countries lists for journalists. But that’s a whole other discussion.
As we are still in the midst of a pandemic in the Philippines, part of me felt like I didn’t exist or that I would be forgotten if I didn’t show any signs of life on social media. Although an introvert, after three months I decided to post something. If only to remind people that I was struggling, making eggs in the morning, and trying to make sense of life, relationships, and people.
I had private conversations with friends who would be triggered or upset by something they saw every day on Viber or Facebook – hot topics included: Ivermectin, canceling the crop and vaccinations.
Despite the aggravation, they chose to spend a lot of time on these platforms. So are billions of people. And this to the delight of the advertisers, the platform’s profit managers and certainly the infamous entities that use all of our voluntarily shared data to present links and posts that elicit a particular response.
Does our self-esteem depend on a filter?
The Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma,” addresses these questions. Since 2016, an election year for the Philippines and the United States, I have followed story after story how social media has been used to manipulate people and create an incredibly toxic political divide. There was massive bullying, slurs, threats – things I had never seen before on Facebook. All of this did not come out of nowhere. These responses were the end result of meticulously designed algorithms, who can see what and when.
Which brings me to two of the many quotes from the movie: âIf you don’t pay for the product, then you are the productâ – Daniel HÃ¶vermann, and âThere are only two industries that call their customers’ users. “: Illegal drugs and software” – Edward Tufte.
One of the main things that make people argue is memes, they really stoke the flames of unnecessary culture wars. Take, for example, memes that negatively stereotype millennials. I’ve had friends who stopped talking to each other about one of these memes. Memes are shared, they argue, and while friendships are destroyed, platforms profit from time spent arguing online. Who does that, really? And why?
One of the main interviewees for the documentary was Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google. He now runs the Center for Humane Technology and continues to advocate for social media platforms to treat people as human beings, not meat puppets with voodoo doll avatars.
For me, The Social Dilemma preaches to my choir of one. On the Netflix page, it is recommended to watch it in class. It’s ironic that the film tries to discuss the dangers of social media and screen time through a streaming app at a time when young people have no choice but to study online.