Conspiracy theory or not? How social media might slowly be taking control

Local News

Do you ever get sick and tired of social media?

Apparently, a lot of people do, based on concerns about YouTube, Facebook, Twitter that have poured into KX news over the years.

A common theme in those complaints: Social media is shaping our opinions, beliefs and political views.

But where do we draw the line between freedom of speech and a private business’s control over that speech? Or don’t we?

We sat down with computer guru Marlo Anderson, creator of the National Day Calendar (nationaldaycalendar.com) and host of the tech talk show, “The Tech Ranch.” We wanted his thoughts on what social media has become today– and the alternatives for those don’t like it.

“The hashtag ‘delete Facebook’ is kinda the big thing now, I mean people are trying to move away from Facebook,” Anderson says.

The delete Facebook campaign gives voice to widespread concern over the lack of privacy in digital environments.

The movement also expresses outrage and feels freedom of speech is superseded by a company’s financial goals.

“The big thing to me is always the money,” Anderson notes. “Even if you buy into the conspiracy that Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are trying to mold the way you think.  A lot of times it really does go back to the money part of it.”
The money part means who’s doing the most advertising. And what are the political beliefs of those spending the money?

YouTube has faced both praise and criticism for taking down, “Planet of the Humans,”  the controversial Michael Moore-produced documentary that portrays green energy in a bad light. It has since been re-added to the platform.

President Trump signed an executive order targeting Twitter and other social media companies after Twitter flagged one of his tweets as, “promoting violence”.

“I’m like everybody else, I get tired of the political rhetoric on Facebook and other social media platforms but, at the same time, if that political rhetoric is being forced upon me because this is their view, maybe they’re pushing a political agenda on me to sway my thinking,” says Anderson.

He notes it would be easy for a social media company to create the algorithms to control what’s on your feed.

“Let’s say I’m really conservative based and really have this political view — they might start sending me messages that might pick away at that viewpoint.  Then all of a sudden it might sway me a little bit,” Anderson explains.

At the same time, Anderson says it’s their right to send those messages.  Facebook and other media giants are privately owned companies.
But, what if you’re no longer buying into the current social media options?

After all, digital consumer tastes and trends can change quickly.
Proof of that is in past examples.

“Yahoo! used to be the giant when it came to search engines, and then, here comes Google,’ Anderson explains. ” MySpace was the giant when it came to social media.”

So what are the social media options to today’s dominant social media sites? Anderson said he used Ello.co at one time, a social media site for artists and creators.

Vero.co is another he tried, a social media service that espouses, “No ads. No data mining. No algorithms.” 

There’s a price for that freedom — literally. It’s a subscription service.

Anderson has also used Sociall.io, a service that protects user data, keeps posts as private as you want and uses security measures to stop search engines from indexing your Sociall profile.

Anderson says always be careful and do your homework before switching and using other social media sites, and to remember, “they’re making money somehow.”

The question is, are you comfortable enough with the way they’re making money for you to use the social media platform?

Click here for a link to a page from MakeTechEasier.com, listing six alternatives to Facebook.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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