The Art of Opting Out

Written By Tony Reurink

On September 8, 2019

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Escaping the Virtual Gulag

Are you fed up with the data collection being done by the platforms that people think they can trust? Not only is Facebook collecting and storing the data of its users, but it’s also selling it to third parties for marketing… Not to mention sharing that data with the US government on-demand.

So what exactly is Facebook and Google doing with the data they collect?

In the case of Cambridge Analytica, the data was being used to manipulate the users choices and actions. After these revelations, Facebook attempted to distance themselves from the company, but a closer look at the platform itself will show that it’s been doing its own experimentation on its user base. Using algorithms, Facebook can effectively control the content that users will see on their news feed. This has been used to manipulate emotions in the past, and can easily be used to limit someones perspective by only showing them what the platform thinks they want to see. This is the basis of information warfare.

On the physical battlefield, information warfare is the same. By controlling what the enemy sees on their radars, you can change the outcome of the battle. Only now, the battlefield is political and right in your home. Using this ability to control the perception of its users, Facebook, Google, and Youtube can greatly effect public opinion.

What’s the way out of this Orwellian nightmare?

Based on what can be seen, most political technologists are all crying out for the regulation of platforms like Youtube and Facebook. This will not solve any problems. In fact, it’ll probably only serve to put control of these social engineering tools into the hands of the politicians themselves. No thank you.

The real alternative? Alternative platforms. Whether they exist or not. If not, they can be created, and that is an incredibly self-empowering idea to keep in mind going forward. We are not prisoners to these platforms, and we have the option to opt out and go somewhere else. So let’s not seek to regulate the market into submission where it’ll be controlled by a select few, instead let us create free and open-source alternatives that seek to protect the users privacy and rights.

Interested in seeking alternatives to the virtual gulag? Check these great articles out!

Best free and open-source Facebook alternatives

Open source social media

Privacy conscious Google alternatives



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