“It is no longer possible to stand up for all speech.”
— Sinead McSweeney, Twitter’s vice president of public policy and communications for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa
“The First Amendment doesn’t protect a user’s speech on a private company’s site. On the contrary, the First Amendment protects Facebook’s right to say what can appear on its platform.”
— Jack Smith, Business Insider
Whether we have our faces glued to the smartphone in the street or feverishly checking our Twitter and Facebook accounts on our lap top at work, face-to-face interaction is fast being replaced by social media, which has society built around it. These networks offer steadily diminishing returns on social investment since a large proportion is rooted in self-promotion, self-admiration and the endless noise of opinions. The latter is drawn from a long since compromised mainstream media that has the audacity to charge alternative media with propagating “fake news,” a meme expressly created by neo-Cold War strategists within the Deep State to counter the non-existent presence of Russian interference in US elections. Opinions therefore are useful for creating emotional capital and the noise of distraction for the rest of us, so that intel agencies can continue to extract all the data they want.
Meantime, young adults are having to cope with an economic time-bomb; the legacy of poor parenting and a lack of play; minimal contact with nature and poor social skills. On top of a pervasive technology that is re-wiring the brain from easily accessible hardcore porn to virtual and highly superficial forms of exchange which, by their very nature, “optimise” and “compress” information down to soundbites. The pace of information exchange and the ratio of quantity over quality means that the highs and consequent lows are making addicts and infants out of many millennials and Generation Zer’s. The neuro-hacking of culture over the last few decades has given us a crisis in the young, now exacerbated by social media and smartphone technology. Yet, such technology is here to stay. So, can we turn it around and apply its true potential?
First, we must dig deep in order to find out what’s truly going on.
Facebook, more popular than Google, is now herding over 2 billion users and growing faster than any year since 2012. According to Tech Crunch the platform hasn’t lost its popularity with”66 percent of Facebook’s monthly users return each day now compared to 55 percent when it hit 1 billion.” The social networking giant has an enormous influence on young minds and society as a whole in ways we are only just beginning to fathom.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg offered his new mission statement to “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” This has to get the prize for the most disingenuous statement since George W. Bush claimed he was bringing freedom to Iraq. The world is getting closer together all right but we ‘ain’t holding hands. Rather, we are giving over our freedom and the very kernel of our minds to a new form of corporatism and surveillance. Analysts can barely keep up with how Facebook and other social media platforms are literally redesigning our lives and psychology.
As smartphone usage attests, there are voluminous studies indicating how social media (Facebook) is bad for your health. A family member often tells me: “Time just seems to disappear when I’m checking Facebook…It’s like I’m under a spell!” Two hours almost seem like two minutes. Yet, they frequently come away feeling exhausted rather than inspired. Why? University of Kent psychologists wrote in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology that compared to general internet use Facebook and its related stimuli can lead us to underestimate time. Although general internet use has the same effect, Facebook was the worst offender for such time distortion. The distortion of time locks us into a greater exposure to social media and internet surfing than we realise, suggesting that our mind is in a specific state of addictive suggestibility. They found that it was Facebook-related images that changed how we pay attention to this visual stimuli, and likely plays a significant part in the rise of internet addiction as a whole.