Tag Archives: Social Media

Addictive ‘Brain Hijacking’ Methods Of Social Media Platforms Harmful To Users, Especially Children: Insider, by Isabel va Brugen and Joshua Philipp

They want you smart enough to be productive and to consume, but not smart enough to challenge the system. From Isabel va Brugen and Joshua Philipp at The Epoch Times via zerohedge.com:

Addictive “brain hijacking” methods used by social media giants to keep users on their platforms have harmful effects, particularly on children, according to industry insider Rex Lee, who says the companies may be violating child protection laws and consumer protection laws by employing such techniques.

Lee, who has over 35 years of experience in the tech and telecom industry, recently testified before Congress, speaking to members about some of the deceptive practices used by social media networks—in particular, “brain hijacking.”

The first time I’d ever heard of brain hijacking, I thought it was something from a science fiction movie,” he recently told EpochTV’s Crossroads program.

He said that social media apps, including those developed by Google, Meta, and Bytedance, are intentionally developed to be addictive.

Part of what makes these platforms addictive is associated with brain hijacking technologies, which involve suggestive and manipulative advertising, he explained.

Lee, who works in the tech industry for an enterprise app and platform developer, said that he was shocked after coming across an admission in a 2017 Axios interview by Sean Parker, who served as the first president of Facebook.

In the interview, Parker said that Facebook was intentionally developed using addictive technologies associated with something he described as a “social validation feedback loop.”

“That in itself is what is at the heart of brain hijacking,” Lee said. “And what that does is that reassures the end user that what they’re posting on the platform is being accepted by a lot of people. In other words, a social validation feedback loop would be associated with a thumbs up, or confetti or emojis, and that sort of thing after they do a post.”

Lee said these are addictive qualities that developers put into their app and platform designs, which ultimately end up harming the user.

“Sean Parker actually admitted this during the Axios interview when he said, ‘God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,’” Lee said. “But it’s not only the brains of children, it’s the brains of the end user, whether it’s an adult, teen, child, or business and user.

This is why people are checking their smartphones up to 150 times a day.

Lee added that Parker expressly told Axios that the feedback loop was “exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting vulnerability in human psychology.”

Lee has been providing to congressional committees, as well as senators and House members, insider information on how these platforms are developed.

The cybersecurity and privacy adviser also highlighted the harmful effects these social media platforms have on young teenagers, describing the platforms as “no different than tobacco companies making bubblegum-flavored cigarettes to sell to children.”

These social validation feedback loops are what’s at heart, and why young teen girls as well as boys who utilize this technology can be harmed by it—they get addicted to it, they never can find fulfillment in it,” Lee said.

“And then, they end up depressed and they end up always constantly having to look for that validation, not only from the technology, but from the other end users on the platform.”

“This also is dangerous because it contributes to cyber bullying,” said Lee, explaining that cyberbullies themselves may become addicted to bullying others online.

“They [cyberbullies] get a few thumbs up from that post where they’re bullying somebody and then more thumbs up comes. And then that person, the bully, becomes addicted to actually  harming people, as well as the recipient starts getting harmed,” he explained. “And we all know what that leads to anxiety, self harm, as well as suicides. And all of those are up among teen and young adult adult users, especially young girls who utilize the platform.”

Kids are being exploited,” he alleged, noting that social media giants may be violating a child online protection law—the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) enacted in 1998.

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Big Tech Unleashes a Sophisticated New Weapon in Their War on Online Anonymity, by Revolver

Legislation now being considered in the U.S. and other countries would essentially ban online posting on social media. The consequences for free speech would be disastrous. From Revolver at revolver.com:

Click here for Part Two

After years of steadily accumulating power, 2021 is the year that Big Tech well and truly flexed its muscle. Gone are the days of banning mere Twitter pundits and demonetizing YouTube channels. In 2021, Big Tech silenced the sitting US president. They stopped the elected chief executive of the world’s largest economy and most powerful military from communicating with the American people. He lost the ability to tweet, post videos, or even send out a mass email.

The past year has shown that no celebrity or official is so powerful they are beyond the reach of the tech ban hammer.

Yet with all the focus on censorship of big names, conservatives risk forgetting about an all-important right in today’s tech-dominated age: The right to anonymous speech. Revolver readers don’t need to be told that it’s more dangerous than ever in America and the West more broadly to voice an opinion at odds with the official, regime-sanctioned one mandated in Washington.  A wrong word, or any word mentioned to the wrong person or in the wrong venue can destroy a career, a reputation, a livelihood. As America becomes an increasingly unfree society under the reign of the Globalist American Empire, the right to speak anonymously, as Revolver itself does on most articles, is crucial.

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Biden Administration Completely Kills The “It’s A Private Company So It’s Not Censorship” Argument, by Caitlin Johnstone

When the government is telling a media company what it must delete from its platform the company can no longer be considered “private” in any meaningful sense of the word. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

In what’s surely the biggest “Imagine the outrage if Trump had done that” moment to date, the Biden administration has admitted that it is giving Facebook a list of accounts to censor for spreading “disinformation” about the Covid-19 response.

“We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki told the press on Thursday. “Within the Surgeon General’s Office, we’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation. We’re working with doctors and medical professionals to connect medical experts with people, who are popular with their audiences with accurate information and boost trusted content. So, we’re helping get trusted content out there.”

Psaki told the White House press corps that the administration has a list of accounts who produce most of the anti-vaccine information on Facebook, which civil libertarians are decrying as an obviously authoritarian government overreach.

“The Biden administration is telling Facebook which posts it regards as ‘problematic’ so that Facebook can remove them,” Glenn Greenwald said on Twitter in response to the news. “This is the union of corporate and state power — one of the classic hallmarks of fascism — that the people who spent five years babbling about fascism support.”

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The Overlapping Infrastructure of Urban Surveillance, and How to Fix It , by Matthew Guariglia

Would you like to know who’s monitoring you, and how they’re doing it? From Matthew Guariglia at activistpost.com:

Between the increasing capabilities of local and state police, the creep of federal law enforcement into domestic policing, the use of aerial surveillance such as spy planes and drones, and mounting cooperation between private technology companies and the government, it can be hard to understand and visualize what all this overlapping surveillance can mean for your daily life. We often think of these problems as siloed issues. Local police deploy automated license plate readers or acoustic gunshot detection. Federal authorities monitor you when you travel internationally.

But if you could take a cross-section of the average city block, you would see the ways that the built environment of surveillance—its physical presence in, over, and under our cities—makes this an entwined problem that must be combated through entwined solutions.

Thus, we decided to create a graphic to show how—from overhead to underground—these technologies and legal authorities overlap, how they disproportionately impact the lives of marginalized communities, and the tools we have at our disposal to halt or mitigate their harms.

A cityscape showing 13 types of common surveillance

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More Government Spying and Lying, by Andrew P. Napolitano

Spying and lying, it’s what governments do.

They do it to me, they do it to you.

From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Twice last week, the federal government’s unconstitutional spying on ordinary Americans was exposed. One of these revelations was made by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., who wrote that the FBI is still using warrantless spying in criminal cases, notwithstanding the Constitution and federal laws. The other revelation was a surprise even to those of us who monitor these things — the United States Postal Service acknowledged that it has been spying on Americans.

Here is the backstory.

The modern American security state — the parts of the federal government that spy on Americans and do not change on account of elections — received an enormous shot in the arm in 1978 when Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That naively misguided and profoundly unconstitutional law was sold to Congress as a way to control the security state’s spying in the aftermath of Watergate. Watergate had revealed that President Richard M. Nixon used the FBI and the CIA to spy on real and imagined domestic political adversaries.

FISA set up a secret court that authorized domestic spying by issuing warrants not based on probable cause of crime, as the Constitution requires, but on probable cause of communicating with foreign agents. Never mind that communications about noncriminal matters are protected speech; the FISA court issued tens of thousands of these warrants.

As the security state’s appetite for spying grew more voracious, its agents and lawyers persuaded the FISA court to lower the bar for issuing a surveillance warrant from communicating with a foreign agent to communicating with a foreign person, and to expand the scope of those warrants to include Americans who have communicated with other Americans who have communicated with foreign people. Under this procedure, if I call my cousins in Florence and then you call me, all of your calls could be surveilled.

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State Attorneys General Threaten to Silence Dr. Mercola, by Joseph Mercola

Dr. Joseph Mercola asks questions and raises issues that the Corruptocracy and legacy media would rather ignore. He’s been a breath of fresh air during the coronavirus outbreak. From Mercola at lewrockwell.com:

While, for many years, I’ve been a popular target for Big Pharma smear campaigns, 2020 onward has really given new meaning to what it means to be under attack. I’m not alone, by any means, as censorship of anti-propaganda narratives have ratcheted up to unprecedented levels for many others seeking to uncover the truth.

These days, even elected government officials misuse their positions of power to openly call for censorship of certain groups, organizations and individuals in direct violation of Constitutional law — the highest law of the land.

The latest in this series of attacks comes from two state attorneys general, Letitia James of New York and William Tong of Connecticut, who in an April 8, 2021, op-ed1 in The Washington Post stated, right in the headline, that “Anti-vaxxers put us all at risk,” and that “Facebook and Twitter must ban them.”

According to James and Tong, COVID-19 vaccine availability marks “the end of the pandemic and the start of our recovery,” but “vaccine availability means nothing without vaccine acceptance.”

This lack of acceptance of novel gene therapy technology, they claim, is all because a small group of individuals with a social media presence — myself included — are successfully misleading the public with lies about nonexistent vaccine risks.

“The solution is not complicated. It’s time for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to turn off this toxic tap and completely remove the small handful of individuals spreading this fraudulent misinformation,” they write.2

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The Apogee of Social Media, by Chris Farrell

Chris Farrell thinks the existing social media behemoths have peaked. Let’s hope he’s right. From Farrell at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • Most famously, of course, is the banning of the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump. But there are many, many others.
  • Journalist friends from center-right outlets saw tens of thousands evaporate. Colleagues were suspended for reposting something they had said on multiple occasions for a year.
  • The social media giants are still flush with cash, convinced they are righteous and enlightened, and, most of all, are exceedingly arrogant. They believe they will continue to define and influence society – and they may – but only half.
  • The nearly consistent claim from established social media companies against their start-up competitors is that they are guilty of some “ism.” Take your pick: racial, ethnic, political, religious, sexual, whatever. Some crime, syndrome, or deplorable belief – some “ism” – is usually attached to any platform other than themselves.
  • This is not the stuff of right-wing conspiracy theorists. It touches on press freedoms and landmark legal cases such as New York Times v. Sullivan. In that 1964 case, the Supreme Court established that a plaintiff in a defamation case concerning a public figure must prove “actual malice” in reporting false information. Actual malice is the publication of a false statement with knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.
(Photo of logos by Denis Charlet/AFP via Getty Images)

When a business turns on roughly half of its customers, treats them like criminal suspects or seeks to deprive them of their services, can they prosper? The answer is “No.”

Social media is dying, they just don’t know it yet. All the so-called “giants” of Silicon Valley: Twitter, Facebook, and their ilk cannot continue successfully “as is.” In the lead-up to the 2020 election, and certainly in the aftermath of the January 6th Capitol riot, persons and organizations not subscribing to the new orthodox socialist ideology of the American Left have found themselves “de-platformed,” suspended, erased, minimized and banned.

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Liberals want to blame rightwing ‘misinformation’ for our problems. Get real, by Thomas Frank

A rare liberal who believes that liberals’ problems may have more to do with liberals than conservatives. From Thomas Frank at theguardian.com:

In progressive circles these days, there is a palpable horror of the uncurated world, of thought-spaces flourishing outside the consensus

Large cursor over speech bubble on computer monitor. Image shot 2013. Exact date unknown.<br>E4NFH0 Large cursor over speech bubble on computer monitor. Image shot 2013. Exact date unknown.

‘American political culture is and always has been a matter of myth and idealism and selective memory.’ Photograph: Ikon Images/Alamy

One day in March 2015, I sat in a theater in New York City and took careful notes as a series of personages led by Hillary Clinton and Melinda Gates described the dazzling sunburst of liberation that was coming our way thanks to entrepreneurs, foundations and Silicon Valley. The presentation I remember most vividly was that of a famous TV actor who rhapsodized about the wonders of Twitter, Facebook and the rest: “No matter which platform you prefer,” she told us, “social media has given us all an extraordinary new world, where anyone, no matter their gender, can share their story across communities, continents and computer screens. A whole new world without ceilings.”

Six years later and liberals can’t wait for that extraordinary new world to end. Today we know that social media is what gives you things like Donald Trump’s lying tweets, the QAnon conspiracy theory and the Capitol riot of 6 January. Social media, we now know, is a volcano of misinformation, a non-stop wallow in hatred and lies, generated for fun and profit, and these days liberal politicians are openly pleading with social media’s corporate masters to pleez clamp a ceiling on it, to stop people from sharing their false and dangerous stories.

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How Democracy Dies: Big Tech Becomes Big Brother, by Leni Friedman Valenta with Dr. Jiri Valenta

The only thing that might get in big tech’s way is governments’ fear that big tech, and not governments, will control what people see and hear. From Leni Friedman Valenta with Dr. Jiri Valenta at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • The power-sharing of the U.S. Federal government with Big Tech appears a recipe for unharnessed power and corruption. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny caught on right away, saying: “This precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world. In Russia as well. Every time when they need to silence someone, they will say: ‘this is just common practice, even Trump got blocked on Twitter.'”
  • Fortunately, governors such as Ron DeSantis in Florida, Greg Abbott in Texas and Kevin Stitt in Oklahoma are now moving legislatively to counter federal laws that may have adverse effects on freedom of speech, jobs, election integrity, the energy industry, the first or second amendments and general constitutional rights.
  • Democracy cannot survive in a country where a few technocrats and oligarchs can choose to deny access to information or platforms to candidates running for office. It is simply unacceptable that they alone — unelected, unappointed, untransparent and unaccountable — can deem what is “harmful” to society. The job now for all of us is to prevent the United States from slowly becoming a full-blown tyranny.
(Image source: iStock)

“Digital giants have been playing an increasingly significant role in wider society… how well does this monopolism correlate with the public interest?,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on January 27, 2021.

“Where is the distinction between successful global businesses, sought-after services and big data consolidation on the one hand, and the efforts to rule society[…] by substituting legitimate democratic institutions, by restricting the natural right for people to decide how to live and what view to express freely on the other hand?”

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“Did You Agree To This? Everybody’s Locked Up”: Ed Snowden On Power Of Silicon Valley Amid COVID Lockdowns, by Tyler Durden

Who made the social media moguls overlords of the entire world? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

A new video montage of recent interviews with former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden exposes how the global COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns – which have been particularly severe and far-reaching in Western countries like the UK, Canada, and in a number of major US cities – coupled with the already immense power of Silicon Valley and its allies in the national security state, has served to keep individuals and entire populations ‘gated off’ from one another. “This is just the beginning,” Snowden warns of these unprecedented times. “All of these things today have consequences which we are not informed about.”

“I would say this is sort of unusual… we’re all spread all over the world in different rooms, everybody’s locked up… but for me this is how I’ve always lived.” He narrates that so much of our life is “intermediated by the screens.” Increasingly our lives are “intermediated by these screens. We spend less time outside and more and more time staring into glass or through glass to connect with that larger world – something beyond ourselves.”

Ultimately he poses the following questions as a warning in the video entitled, “Edward Snowden 2021: The Most VICIOUS HONEST 10 Minutes of your LIFE!”… “Increasingly it feels something distinct from us, something apart from us – something that we are witnessing rather than participating in. Ask yourself: Is this your will? Is this what you want? Did you agree to this? Is this consistent with the vision of the future you want to see?

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