Social Media Becomes the New Big Brother
Governments were to be feared before 1984, and still are, but these days giant corporations are watching you.
Conservative and libertarian members of Congress were seriously disappointed to see the vote go forward on the FISA Act renewal in its current form (WND), without their amendment offering protections from surveillance on innocent citizens. The law intended to identify foreign terrorists, in the opinion of Senate Republican Rand Paul and others, did not prevent rogue employees of the State Department or FBI from peering into the private conversations of patriotic Americans whose words might incidentally match keywords of search algorithms. To them, these seem like violations of 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure without a warrant.
While few Americans are paranoid about what the government is doing right now with their private information, the discussion points out the ongoing controversy about government intrusion. In the hands of a rogue regime, such power could be a tool of totalitarian control far worse than what George Orwell envisioned with his ever-present “big brother” screens watching everyone. Computer networks can now assimilate information over years, looking for patterns to build cases against citizens. Even worse, entities with that kind of power can alter or filter information without the citizen even knowing the truth.
Orwell’s 1984 was a warning against communism. Welcome to 2018, when evil power lies in the hands of giant corporations in the information industry. As these news items show, the heads of these corporations, and many of their employees, are leftist progressives with great power to control the flow of information and influence what people see, hear, and think. They also have enormous databases of information on everyone, and users have nothing they can do to protect themselves if this information falls into the wrong hands.
A look at Facebook’s changes over the years in what you see (Associated Press via Phys.org). You may think that you are sending private messages only seen by your “friends” on the widely-used social media platform, but every word is being watched, not always by human eyes, but by company algorithms designed to allow some messages through and not others.
Facebook is once again tweaking what you see to focus more on personal connections and take the spotlight off brands and news articles.
Facebook says it will highlight posts you are most likely to engage with and make time spent on social media more “meaningful.” That means cutting back on items that Facebook users tend to passively consume, including video.
To try to keep you glued to Facebook, it regularly updates the formula that decides what posts you see. With the latest update, the company says it’s focusing on what Facebook is for—connecting with people you know.
This may sound innocent. If your friends respond to your posts, you assume the communication is fair. But electronic messages are not like snail mail, hidden inside envelopes. They are potentially readable by anyone with the power to control them, including the government and Facebook. If Mark Zuckerberg, the left-leaning founder of Facebook, doesn’t want conservative messages to be heard, there are things he can do, such as shut down a Trump-supporting discussion group (Breitbart News). And there are ways, through ad campaigns and “suggested posts” that Facebook can nudge its users toward positions he likes.
A recent case is illuminating. Under pressure, Facebook decided to unblock a pro-life crowdfunding site that was raising funds to make a movie about Roe v. Wade (Breitbart News). Facebook claimed that the site was sending “spam” that violated its “community standards” and was engaging in “hate speech” and “bullying.” Those can be Orwellian terms to put down views the company doesn’t like. Are Facebook’s “community standards” applied without bias? That article and another by Breitbart pointed out Zuckerberg’s friendly connections with Planned Parenthood.
Project Veritas Video Confirms Years of Breitbart Tech Reporting on Twitter (Breitbart News). This article embeds the latest video by Project Veritas investigator James O’Keefe. His undercover agents recorded video of key employees at Twitter with hands on the controls of the flow of information. They claim that 95 to 99% of Twitter employees, perhaps even 100%, are anti-Trump and leftist/progressive in ideology. They also describe the practice of “shadow banning,” where tweets they don’t approve of can be silently flushed down the network toilet without the sender even knowing the messages were not seen. The routine swearing used by these employees, using s*** for any tweets or users they don’t like, makes Trump’s recent indiscretions look tame by comparison. One employee took it upon himself to make unilateral decisions about what could pass or not. Increasingly, the practice of shadow banning is being automated by algorithms searching for keyword combinations, including those often used by conservatives. The disturbing practices admitted to in the undercover video bear a striking resemblance to Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth” bureaucracy that constantly molded the messaging of the State, burning books and altering history with big lies as necessary.
Google a ‘Bubble of Very Liberal Groupthink’ with ‘Re-education Camp’ Atmosphere for Conservatives (Breitbart News). Two former employees of Google are joining a class action suit after being fired for the crime of expressing conservative views at the social media giant. One describes the atmosphere in the company as “groupthink” enforced by leftist diversity policies:
Both of them complained in the workplace about the quota system that Google has in place for hiring people and the incessant social justice warrior mentality that forces everybody at Google to toe the line with regard to hating on people who supported the President, or refusing to acknowledge people’s right to believe that there are two genders instead of multiple genders.”
Dhillon continued, “from top to bottom there’s this bubble of very very liberal groupthink that is at the same time very intolerant of people who have more traditional values.
The company’s motto “Don’t be evil” (which was dropped de jure in 2015 but could still represent the company theme de facto) can become Orwellian when their definition of ‘evil’ means ‘conservative.’
Wiki Co-Founder Blasts “Appallingly Biased” Wikipedia Entry on ID (Evolution News). Late last year, Evolution News issued several articles illustrating the anti-ID bias of Wikipedia, the world’s most visited online encyclopedia. The unseen revisionists behind Wikipedia immediately reverse any corrections to its clearly biased page on intelligent design. They also decide which scientists are ‘notable’ enough to praise, downgrading anyone who jumps off the Darwin ship, as happened recently with Günter Bechly (see 12/02/17).
Update 1/14/18: WND posted a warning about corporate internet giants, airing contrasting views of Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Senator Mike Lee about which power, government or corporations, poses the biggest threat to freedom.
Update 1/15/18: Breitbart News posted another section of video from Project Veritas that includes a Twitter employee calling his company “creepy Big Brother” but not as creepy as Facebook and Google! According to engineers at Twitter, every post is stored indefinitely, and even the most intimate direct messages are looked at by a team of hundreds of Twitter employees. They say that before you even use Twitter, they know a lot about you from your other social media, from which they build a profile of you, and then they sell the collected information to advertisers – that’s how they make most of their money. They admit that this information could fall into the wrong hands and nothing could be done to protect the user. (Warning: porn language.)
What does this have to do with Creation-Evolution Headlines, you ask? Let’s connect the dots. Which political ideologies are most likely to oppose creationism and intelligent design? Leftist progressives (e.g., 7/02/17). And which ideologies now have the most control over the flow of information in social media? Leftist progressives. And which ideologies are most likely to use end-justifies-the-means practices instead of the Ten Commandments? Leftist progressives.
This means that what academia and the NCSE could not do—stamping out Darwin skeptics—may be within the power of leftist-progressive corporations like Facebook, Google and Twitter. Simply by adding a few words to their search algorithms, they could target creationists as haters, bigots, bullies, or groups that fail to meet their ‘community standards.’ Practices like nudging, shadow banning and ad targeting could follow, unbeknown to the victims. Internet service providers themselves could filter messages to shut up users and groups they don’t like.
But, you say, conservative messages are getting through on social media. CEH, for instance, uses Twitter and has almost a thousand followers, some who retweet our tweets. That may be mostly true, but consider the information that these companies are gathering. With their pattern-matching algorithms, they have the power to characterize any person or group and sort them into bins with favorable and unfavorable status. With this power, they can steer the world their way, and most users of their platforms will be completely unaware of what is happening to them. No screens of Big Brother’s peering gaze will be necessary. Users will do it to themselves.
What we are seeing happen to the internet today could be viewed as a fulfillment of Jesus’ words, “Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Luke 12:3).