Black Mirror Is Here

Did any of you guys see that episode of Black Mirror where every person has a social media score, and every time you interact with someone you’re rated on a scale of 0-5?  Well, that’s now becoming a reality.  Facebook has created a ‘trustworthiness’ score, supposedly to combat ‘fake news’.

This is the pinnacle of herd conformity.  Just espouse a viewpoint on religion, politics, or anything else that is outside of the normal purview, and BAM, your trustworthiness score tanks, and you become invisible on the platform.  Who knows, maybe this kind of “score” will one day dictate what jobs, products, and services are available to you.  Think of the pressure that would create to conform.

As for ‘fake news’, do we really think that the masses are the best arbiters of what is and isn’t true?  What should and shouldn’t be seen?  It’s obvious how this will play out in practice.  The average person barely has any free time; they’re tied up with their job, children, and other things.  They will judge the reliability of an information source based on how it “feels” to them, or even worse, flag information as unreliable simply because they disagree with it. Even the article I linked to points this out.

It’s “not uncommon for people to tell us something is false simply because they disagree with the premise of a story or they’re intentionally trying to target a particular publisher,” Lyons said.

The end result is obvious — any information that goes outside of the mainstream is censored.  Well, that’s been Facebook’s goal all along.  If you haven’t heard, Facebook actually recently formed a multi-million dollar deal with CNN, ABC News, Fox News, and other mainstream outlets when forming their Facebook Watch group to combat “fake news”.  Ever since that time, smaller media outlets have been finding themselves heavily censored on the platform.

It’s not just Facebook though.  All the big tech companies are doing it.  I used to think these platforms were just targeting aspects of the right, but as I’ve learned more about it, I’ve come to realize they target all non-mainstream media sources that become popular.  They only want the corporately authorized, mainstream content to be popular, and the rest of us are all to be relegated to obscurity.

Take Jimmy Dore of the Young Turks for instance.  He was banned for having an opinion that went against mainstream news.  His content was taken down for calling out the recent events involving RussiaGate, saying it was without substance.

For another example, take a young Youtuber who’s been popular with religious, conservative women, Brittany Pettibone.  She simply expressed a degree of support for the Generation Identity movement, a socialist, Catholic, democratic movement in Europe, and for that alone she was banned from Patreon.  Patreon told her that unless she removed those videos and deleted photos from Instagram which expressed support for Generation Identity, she would be banned from their platform.

Google and Youtube are engaged in the same censorship practices.  The Amazing Atheist (also known as TJ Kirk) has had most of his videos demonetized these days, and for what reason?  They don’t like him.  He was told that just having the word “atheist” in his channel’s name had him breaching “community guidelines.”  Freedom of religious beliefs?  Not anymore, at least not on the big tech platforms.  He’s been banned entirely from Tumblr as well.  Youtube demonitized his channel, as well as all the channels he finds interesting and engaging.  They’re all being strangled off the platform.  He has been supporting himself through Pateron, as far as I know (I’m by no means an expert on his channel), but who knows how long that will last.  They want cookie-cutter, boring, family-friendly drivel on their platform, and are trying to run everyone else off.

I find that sad because I grew up in a deeply religious household and was exposed to very few ideas.  When Youtube first started getting big, I used to see the Amazing Atheist’s channel being promoted and thought, huh, what is an atheist like?  What do they believe?  What kind of people are they?  And watching his channel, I came to understand them, and I really like the guy.  But those days are now over.  Actually expressing yourself, your viewpoints, sharing what matters to you — that’s against the guidelines.  Talk more about your cat and how cute it is.

I can see it now.  All of the television ads and celebrities will be telling you, “be an individual”, “empower yourself”, “be one of a kind”, and other drivel, but in reality, the second you actually do express some aspect of your individuality, or an original opinion that goes outside of some box dictated to you by the herd, you instantly become a social pariah, or possibly banned completely.  The end result?  Everyone becomes fake and nobody will want to rock the boat.  Everything will become insipid, shallow and ridiculous.  Everyone’s kissing up for social brownie points.

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