Part 1 Part 2

I took a break from reading and watching the news. For the past week I do not know what happened in the world and what dystopias are waiting for us in the shadows. I do not know anything about America, the financial markets, the EU, the Hindu right-wing or about the virus. I do not know the new drama that Twitter wants to diffuse into me or the outrage that Reddit forces me to consider. The pangs of boredom that make me want to consume more of the Guardian and the Washington Post are yet to find a new home, but the media terror of discourse building is suddenly absent.

News media operates like a terror organization, as ideologues who push forward their narrative through capturing attention. The content behind the news does not mean as much as the attention power it generates. Generating content 24/7 is not an easy task but considering the low shelf life of most news, the need to invent is continual.

I consume news for the same reasons I consume alcohol, as a social lubricant, as a means of getting through with the world, as a relaxant and in a corny hope that it makes me wiser. What started as an occasional 9 p.m. news bulletin evolved into reading a newspaper everyday to constantly being surrounded by the news. This leads to a chatter of information and sure, it helps one keep track of the malfeasance of power. But is it really a medium of change? If I did the same with alcohol I would end up with a serious case of alcoholism and a cirrhosis of the liver.

The status-quo heavily benefits the news organization and change orchestrated by it would never be in the interests that are outside its workings. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube operate on a different level, where the conventional news cycle is broken down further. The driving force here is hidden inside an algorithm, not a kooky Australian billionaire. We cannot even decode a person behind a phone screen, what about the machine behind them? These companies operate in secrecy and but whitewash their existence through ideals of openness and connectivity.

What the media organization thrives from is discontent and disconnection. Good news is bad news for a media organization because good news warrants no further discussion. Bad news however creates engagement and engagement creates more revenue. This translates into fraught societies that are connected and fragmented at the same time, one does not need to look further than Facebook or Fox News for the destabilization they have done to the global thinking order in the past decade.

“People who are addicted to Twitter, are like all addicts—on the one hand miserable, and on the other hand very defensive about it and unwilling to blame Twitter.” – Jaron Lanier

Coming down from by bingeing of news, I find more calm for people and my surroundings. The people on the streets and on public transport appear more as people than blurs, there's a distinct sense of belonging without adherence to a particular cause or reason. I do not have the urge to debate over global topics, which I am removed from anyway because of powerlessness I embody. When I look around this powerlessness is more visible but the cacophony of the media narratives makes us believe that we are more important than we are. A deeper look of our collective dissatisfaction and wants, untainted by a mediator or an algorithm is a good place to counter existing narratives and to hope for something new.

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#media #facebook #democracy

Why is it expected that a person is always connected to the internet and within the reach of an email account, WhatsApp or Instagram? Why is it that the default mode of communication is over WhatsApp and if one chooses to not be on the platform there is an actual loss of information. Smartphones are also an ubiquitous presence in the public spaces of modern cities where having one is always assumed by default. Payments, check-ins, money transfers, security procedures to access critical apps all require a smartphone with internet access though it isn't implicit that a person should own a phone in the first place.

The internet as a highly deregulated space has a feeling of being a privatized version of the Wild West where the big landowners can do what they want to do and the plebs are at the mercy of these anarchic overlords. Sure, there is a lot of utility to be made with the helps of the tools provided by these corporations, but at what cost? This belief by the general populace that everyone is connected to one of the data exploiters is problematic as any reasoning would only evoke suspicion, as that's what we've been trained to believe. The internet for most parts is still has a very nascent presence in our lives. Most of us weren't born into it, and so we don't know what happens behind the screen – the assumption that if it looks good then it is good applies to our day-to-day usage of the internet.

Getting a job requires a cellphone number, having a twitter account needs a cellphone number, opening a bank account needs one and in a country like India, the government itself starts a bio-metric surveillance project that connects all IDs to a phone number and a person. Even a mundane shopping experience needs one to give a phone number to 'unlock' special benefits and people do so because they're not educated on what the drawbacks of doing so entail. This means that not wishing to have oneself not surveilled means that not having access to State machinery and simple conveniences. This gate keeping helps in perpetuating existing power structures without giving scope for people to move up hierarchies, as who wants to give up political power and status? The inequality index of power should also be considered along with money and this index is closely tied with an omnipotent entity knowing everything about you.

For now, it's hard for one to say how the internet propaganda machine can be used to manipulate us, as our own biases are not visible and the traces of any programming done upon us is further obliterated by the echo chambers of communication the algorithms build around us. We are far into the future where predictive mechanisms know more about us than we do about ourselves and in that extent it feels like the cellphone has become a bionic implant put inside us by a rogue corporation. It is the case anyway, the phones suck all our time through online slot machines of apps and websites, all luring us with an overload of junk information trained to dose us with the right hits of dopamine. The phone listens to us, knows what we think and sees what we capture. It has an eye to the world and another staring directly into our faces for all the time we let it gaze at us. It has a cold, mathematical dissemination with which it investigates and classifies us – for purposes of making us buy more and think less.

I think the luxury offered by the smartphone + the internet is something we will not let go easily, it is an addiction that triggers us, like Opium wars of distant past. Since the government and the people are hooked onto the dope shouldn't force me to become a user. This is the time to exercise my rights further as a citizen, if we are all equal even in a hypothetical sense then it is only fair that what I know of myself should be restricted to me and if entities larger than me choose to consume my data exhaust then they should open their black box algorithms and show me what's up inside. The internet and technology has brought a significant change in my quality of life, yes, and that comes with a price. That price shouldn't be my own self and that too not with my dopamine addled consent.

If I want to junk my phone and cull my internet personality I should be able to do so. If the being registered in a more direct surveillance project is mandatory then the terms have to be clear through law or through coercion. This would at least entail a direct participation for or against the current methodologies in use. The current policy of subliminal nudging only accounts for a deeper disorder while hiding the real fight. I say bring it on, we are all in this together.

#data #algorithms #SurveillanceCapitalism #facebook #google #privacy

Create a FB account, and then through that account, create a right-leaning FB page.

Through that page, set up your ads. FB ads allows you to target for things by interests, by certain political affiliation, and you can restrict your targeting down to the point of which city. So for example, if I wanted to target extremely conservative men ages 20-35 in Austin, Texas, I'd set my FB ads to something like this:

facebook ad datasets

Right away, FB tells me I have 24,000 potential people I can reach.

You could tweak and tune the FB ads as much as you like until you reach your desired audience. Want to include avid readers of Breitbart? No problem. Sean Hannity viewers? You betcha! Tomi Lahren fanboys? Of course!

Make sure you get people who run the page to constantly put up articles that reinforces what those pages stand for. It doesn't matter where the content comes from, so long as you get content up there that confirms your audience bias.

For each article you post, create an ad to an article. Maybe consider linking a Breitbart article about how muslim gangs are raping young girls.

Use divisive language in your ads, but nothing that directly calls anyone out so the ad can get approved, something like:

Texans! Keep your loved ones SAFE from terrorism!

Use pictures that invoke the “gotta protect OUR children” reaction. Something like a young white girl in a white dress holding a teddy bear?

Set your budget—$5 a day is a pretty good place to start to figure out your cheapest cost per click—and run that bad boy. You can get as low as 9 cents a click if your audience interact well to the ad (i.e. they click it, they LIKE it, they comment on it), so don't worry, those $5 will go a LONG way. Once you get a good audience, you turn up the budget to as high as you want to reach as many people as you can.

Facebook will deliver this ad to your aforementioned audience's newsfeed because those people have proved to FB that they are more likely to engage with this sort of content.

Ideally, you want to keep this going on for about six months to a year to ensure that you build a big enough audience group who will not only click on your link but who will also LIKE and FOLLOW your page.

After that is where the fun begins. This is when you create an event called “Keep Islam out of Texas” from that page.

Remember that audience you've been cultivating all these months? You can save it, expand it, and create what FB calls a lookalike audience—i.e. people who 'look' similar to your audience in their online behavior or could otherwise be brought into that audience.

You can use that to target up to 5% of the entire US population. Yeah, let that number sink in.

Do the same kind of ads, but this time drive people to this event. Since they've been blasted by your content for the past half to whole year, it should be a pretty easy sell.

TheDonald uses this EXACT SAME PROCESS to help get Trump elected, but through Reddit instead. It's literally EXACTLY. THE. SAME. See what I'm talking about:

Create a reddit account:

  • Go to r/The_Donald which aggregates all of these types of users for you already

  • Post content having to do with Mexicans, Muslims, Marxism, and whatever else conservatives have been trained to live in fear of, linking those post to an article on Breitbart or just use a funny meme video that appeals to their hate and fear driven biases

  • Once you've built up the hate and fear enough use it to manipulate users into attacking whatever makes Donald Trump look bad or threatens his power

  • Repeat, with hundreds of thousands of upvote accounts and thousands of posts

99% of our job is to convince people that something that is fucking them over is actually good for them. The whole concept of 'shills' has somehow became a conspiracy theory when in reality it's just PR workers who are paid by a company to defend their product/service. My last job was defending fracking.

Anytime a post containing keywords was submitted to a popular website we where notified and it was our job to just list off talking points and debate the most popular comments. Fracking was an easy one to defend because you could paint people as anti-science if they where against it. The science behind fracking is sound and if done properly is safe, so you just focus on this point. You willfully ignore the fact that fracking is done by people who almost never do it properly and are always looking to cut corners.

Your talking points usually contain branching arguments if people try to debate back. For example my next point would be to bring up that these companies are regulated so they couldn't cut corners or they would be fined, all the while knowing that these agencies are either underfunded or have been captured by the very industry they are trying to regulate.

The final talking point, if someone called you out on all your counterpoints, was to simply try to paint them as a wackjob. Suggest they are crazy for thinking agencies who are suppose to protect them have been bought and paid for. Bring up lizard people to muddy the waters. A lot of people will quickly distance themselves from something if it is accused of being a conspiracy theory, and a lot of them are stupid enough that you can convince them that believing businesses conspiring to break the law to gain profit is literally the same as believing in aliens and bigfoot.


#facebook #propoganda #fascism