In a world where conformity is the norm…
Do you use social media? Which of the social media platforms is your favorite? When you use the phrase “social media,” what comes to mind? Web based social networking, internet social interactions or something else? All of these are correct. Furthermore, the social media platforms that will most likely come to mind for most are the usual suspects like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
These various social media platforms are awesome, in that they help us stay connected and share treasured moments with our friends, business colleagues and even loved ones.
However, nowadays social media network platforms are not so much about connecting people. Instead, they are mostly about making as much money as possible, regardless of the consequences. These consequences include a loss of privacy, emotional stress induced by social pairs actions and ratings, and loss of civility in social interaction due to a false sense of anonymity. These are some of the dark sides or negative sociological impacts that social medial usage is having on our society. Below I will list some of the negative impacts social media platforms could be having on their users when not properly implemented and wrongly used:
- Loss of privacy.
- Commoditization of the user.
- Degradation of civility in interpersonal communication.
- Perceived social pressure to comply with the trolls, leading to anxiety.
- Future unforeseen consequence of past and present internet activity.
The good news is that all this could be prevented by making the right choice, but to make the right choice you’ll need to know what those choices are. This is what this article is about.
Any time you browse the internet, all your clicks and all your activity on the web are being tracked and recorded by the likes of Google, Facebook or Amazon. Those pictures or selfies you took using Instagram or Snapchat, in a moment of indiscretion, are all being archived in the cloud somewhere, and these images could be leverage against you sometime in the future. This is the sad reality of our brave interconnected modern world. Our assumption of anonymity is false when using the internet and most of the internet social apps. All the informational content generated by our usage is being stored, analyzed and monetized, while at the same time we are being profiled and categorized without our consent. All the major social media platforms build a profile on you that is updated continuously per your activities on the internet. Congratulations, you’ve just become a mere commodity for sale, without even sharing in the profit.
The machine learning algorithm being used to track all your social media activities seeks to have a total and comprehensive understanding of you, your innermost thoughts, your darkest secret and everything there is to know about you, and you voluntarily feed it all that information any time you interact with the social media platform.
“All the major social media platforms build a profile on you that is updated continuously per your activities on the internet.”
By collecting all this information, the social media platforms know you better than you know yourself. Therefore, they are able to manipulate your thoughts and feelings, able to influence your next want or need before you even become conscious of it. You are now not just a commodity, but also a consumer compelled by the social media platform to buy, without being able to resist.
However, all is not lost. There is a way out! There exist a plethora of open source, alternative social media platforms, both centralized and decentralized, both those that have some form of blockchain protocol implementation, IPFS-backed protocol or P2P torrent-based tech. The commonality among these alternative open source social media platforms is their respect for the individual right to privacy, and the security of the user content being generated, as well as the right to ownership of the content produced by the activities of the user. The general philosophy of most open source social media platforms is that your data is yours and yours alone to do with as you please. You’re always in control: in this paradigm transparency, privacy, security and freedom rules!
When investigating what social media platform to use, if you’re privacy conscious, then the following must be a priority in your evaluation criteria: The social media platform must operate a transparent policy, putting the privacy of the user above monetary gain, and must be free from commercial influence and manifestation, such as behavior tracking, user profiling, advertising, data mining analysis and covert information filtering. The users must also have the freedom to share their content with whomever they want, whenever they want, without being spied upon.
Below is a listing of the currently most popular proprietary social media platforms, which are driven by big corporation, with their privacy-respecting, open source counterparts on the right.
Popular Social Media Platforms and Their Open Source Alternatives
|Corporate Social Media Platforms
|Alternate, Open Source Social Media platforms
|*Bitchute is not fully open sourced
Now you are aware, and have taken the first step toward taking back control of your life from the corporate proprietary social media platforms. But there is still much work left to be done if you’re to take back full control of your internet life and profile. Do you use Google, gmail, bing, iPhone or an Android phone? Then you are still a commodity traded daily to the highest bidder, without your consent.
Stay tuned! Our next topic will focus on how to gain back your right to privacy in this information age.