When One Half Of One Results In A Negative

Most of the time I use these therapy sessions to express my thoughts and findings about Philosophies and Feelings. Today though I find myself in the position of pontificating about a product that I have never used. It really isn’t all that uncommon. People do it everyday. Unlike Mr. Limp and many others, I actually research and read about what I rant on about before engaging. Usually. 

There are over Two Billion monthly users of Facebook, with around Two Hundred Fourteen Million of those being the U. S. Three Quarters of users engage on a daily bases. More women use the site than men, by around Ten Percentage Points. Growth was reported to be about Fourteen Percent at the end of 2017. According to one Digital Marketing Expert, “A huge and vastly growing number of Facebook users are active and consistent in their visits to the site, making them a promising audience for your marketing efforts.” Anyone with one half one brain knows that elections are marketing.

I am not a legal scholar, (although I often play one in life), so the questions surrounding Facebook, Cambridge Analyitica, misuse of scraped data, and the law, will be left for another time, another place, and maybe another person. Here, I am more interested in moral and ethical responsibilities and consequences of the entities that we voluntarily use and let control our lives.

From its inception, I have never been able to see the appeal of these social networking sites. Maybe it is because I would much rather meet with someone over a Starburger with cheese and a schooner, followed by an after-dinner doobie out in the parking lot. To me, that is “Socializing”. The only advertising you were subjected to was through the numerous lights and clocks provided by the beer and liquor distributors.

People who use Facebook tell me that they ignore the constant assault on their senses by advertisements, announcements and graffiti. Anyone, even those of us who even slept through Psychology 101, know that to be impossible. Even Darrin Stephens, of McMann and Tate fame, knew how to manipulate people’s thought processes and buying selections.

When most people think of subliminal advertising, (stimuli), often they recall the first documented application of it in 1957 when James Vicary inserted the words “Eat Popcorn” and “Drink Coca-Cola” into a movie. While it has been claimed that Vicary’s results were a hoax, a later study done at Harvard seems to show that such methods do work. While Facebook may not utilze subliminal stimuli using the classic method, the messaging in one’s peripheral vision surely has an effect on behavior.

Mark Zuckerberg’s claim that Facebook had little to no influence on the Presidential election of 2016 is disingenuous at best, a bare-faced lie at the worst. I’m betting on the later. After all, Facebook’s marketing people take claims containing remarkable statistics to their customers when selling them the product. If advertising with them did not work, how would they be a multi-billion dollar company, expanding at increasingly envious levels? One can not have it both ways. Add that to his refusal to testify in the UK, and I can’t help but believe he has much to hide. He has announced that he will testify before the much friendlier U. S. Congress. Whether he actually says anything might be a different story.

Cambridge Analytica was allowed to run wild using Facebook user’s data with no recourse until just recently, even though they had been made aware of Cambridge’s “hacking” years before. Zuckerberg finally did the absolute least he could do, he banned them from Facebook. Oh the shame! 

Cambridge Analytica’s story will take many years to decipher. The pitches, when selling their product, claim unheard of success rates, in re-shaping public opinion. Through “information operations” they worked for the re-election of Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria. To be more exacting, they massaged the politics of fear.  While the CA’s staff on the ground in Nigeria was being lead to believe that what they were being given was legitimate information provided by Israeli Intelligence or Mossad, in actuality, it was hacked emails, medical and financial records, all designed to discredit and slander the opposition’s Buhari. When they discovered the truth, the fled the country in panic.

Cambridge Analytics has also been involved in elections in Argentina, the Czech Republic, Kenya, India, the Brexit campaign in the U.K. and of course, the 2016 Presidential election in the U.S. To say that their tactics lean towards the sleazy and criminal, is a huge understatement. The fact that the key people in the organization consist(ed) of the father and daughter team of Robert and Rebekah Mercer, Steve Bannon, and the suspended CEO Alexander Nix, should be enough to prove that case.

As far as Facebook, they made is easier for CA to manipulate the American voter, and despite Zuckerberg’s previous claims, knew it was happening. They had been told about the scraping and aside from a “pretty please” letter to Cambridge Analytica and it’s parent SCL Group, they did nothing.

When some of the Fifty Million Plus people affected started downloading the files of information that Facebook had on them, they were shocked to the extensiveness of the data. It includes phone call information, personal calendar information, including appointments and trips, contacts, etc. Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook was sorry and will need to re-earn their customer’s trust. To me, what has and is happening is reprehensible. You need to check what information Google has on you. It is even worse.

After you get your “social media” accounts deleted, cleaned-up and quit using Google, including your email account, get hold of me. Perhaps we can meet up at the Star Bar. We’ll have a cheeseburger and a schooner. Wrap it all up with a left-hander out back. 

That’s Socializing.