Social Media Manipulation

Martin Luther Posting His 95 Theses is a photograph by Library Of Congress/science Photo Library which was uploaded on September 13th, 2018.

For the average user, social media is a trap. Learning how Facebook used algorithms and feedback to control what people saw was an eye-opener for me. I honestly thought what I saw was random, and I had choice and control of what I was seeing. However, discovering that the information I was allowed to see supported only like-minded ideologies and platforms and were used to pummel the user with posts to support someone else’s agenda was a wake-up call.

What a divisive tool to further separate people and communities! When I realised that “right-wing” and “left wing” ideologies were putting people in two opposing camps where neither side could see the information the other side was seeing was mind-boggling. Since I was limited on facebook to only like-minded posts – I couldn’t begin to understand why other people thought the way they did. Rather than a sharing of ideas and information, we were, in fact, limiting ourselves in a way that has not been done since the Catholic Church was in control of knowledge

Facebook and other social media platforms, unlike however misguided the Catholic Church was/is, only has one purpose – to make money (although it could be argued that the Catholic Church was a money-making enterprise as well). It does not have our best interests at heart. But Facebook and other social media are way more insidious and vast than the Catholic Church ever was. It not only can control what knowledge we have sent to us, but it can also do it for many more hours a day than the Catholic Church ever could (unless you were nun or priest) and manipulate us as never before in history.

We have to be proactive, not passive users of social media, and we have to understand how to control it and not let it control us. To this end, Rachel Metz has some of the best advice in her article “How to manipulate Facebook and Twitter instead of letting them manipulate you.” Take back power every way you can. The internet might have all the knowledge but that does not necessarily mean you are going to see it.

Have you ever felt manipulated by social media in a bad way?



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