Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Media And Politicians Rush To Blame Social Media

Zuckerberg And Facebook Are In The Hotseat!
Oh, the irony of it all as mainstream media and politicians rush to blame social media for our cultural woes. Facebook has stepped into the sunlight and has found transparency to be rather unflattering. While I'm not a fan of Mark Zuckerberg the computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur who co-founded Facebook, demonizing him does little to remove the guilt they all share. Zuckerberg has apologized to Facebook users after he was backed into a corner and painted as uncaring and even accused as having a very low opinion of the customers that have trusted him and his company, however, that apology seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Currently, Facebook faces multiple investigations to find out just how far over the line they went in abusing the trust of those with accounts and information these individuals posted. Unfortunately, many reasons exist to question the motives of those seeking power and Zuckerberg reeks of such ambition. Zuckerberg recently traveled throughout the United States to fulfill his 2017 “personal challenge” to “learn about people’s hopes and challenges.” During his travels we have seen him drive a tractor, meet with recovering heroin addicts, don a hard hat and speak out against the staggering wealth inequality that his personal fortune so clearly represents. This trip attracted a great deal of attention and sent rumors flying and even created speculation that Zuckerberg might be considering running for President.

Zuckerberg's Character Is Being Questioned, Is He A Shmuck?
Some people might be happy and content to be the founder and chief of one of the world’s biggest tech companies while still in their early 30s but not Zuckerberg. The CEO of Facebook has spent the last couple of years casting himself in various roles such as a global philanthropist, however, some detractors point out he has given away a very small part of his wealth and this is being done as the cafeteria workers at his company struggle to make ends meet.  

While Mark Zuckerberg criticizes the government for failing to build adequate infrastructure for Silicon Valley workers it has been pointed out that perhaps they cannot afford such infrastructure because of the huge lengths companies like Facebook, go to in order to avoid paying the taxes that needed to pay for such projects. Zuckerberg has also praised the idea of a universal basic income, an unconditional income paid by the government to all citizens, regardless of whether or not they work. This brings up the question of whether Zuckerberg has the right to pronounce what the welfare state should look like while Facebook takes very aggressive measures to minimize its tax burden, to those people, the term "hypocrite" quickly springs to mind.

As for social media being used to collect data and in effect spy on us who do you think allowed and gave them this power? Just as unsettling is the alliances companies like Amazon have made with the government and the big contract their cloud division, Amazon Web Services, has with the CIA. In the case of Amazon the fact its CEO also owns the Washington Post, America's most influential newspaper, should send shivers down the back of those believing in freedom and limited government. The power of such a news outlet shapes both public opinion and the narrative of events of all kinds. It is impossible to state how much power the mainstream media has through influence peddlers like the Washington Post in shaping public opinion. An article that highlights this claims the Post was purchased by Jeff Bezos as a propaganda mouthpiece to enhance his political influence. This again circles us back around to the topic of fake news, false flags, and a slew of problems that plaque both America and the world.

All these players constantly stirring the pot contribute to the cultural rot that leaves all of us wondering who and what to believe. Governments, corrupt politicians, the media, fools and clowns, all vying for our attention. The source of much of the polarization we face may, in fact, flow from the same mainstream media that is almost giddy over the problems Facebook has created by playing fast and loose with data from its followers. When it comes to the issue of whether we are a society of thinkers, sadly the answer comes in as a resounding NO! Most people would rather turn it all over to artificial intelligence and be fed through a straw while living in a world of virtual reality rather than face the complex problems that lay before us in coming years.

As for the answer as to how much power any individual screaming at the top of their lungs on social media really moves the needle, most likely the true answer is very little. This does not mean the format of social media cannot be manipulated by "bots, trolls, and evildoers" (mostly their words not mine) but in comparison to those who really control the narrative, they have little power. In part this is because society is so polarized we could not agree on anything if our lives depended on it. The bottom-line is that after all the finger pointing and blame, Zuckerberg and Facebook most likely will not get the award for being "The Worst," and eventually they will probably only merit a badge for being bad. This is because when it comes to the total cast of bad actors, and all is said and done, they have some very tough competition.

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