How Search Algorithims Manipulate You

 

A recent article about how Google and YouTube Search Algorithims are manipulated got me to thinking.

So I emailed a good friend of mine, Mr. A, with my concerns. Mr. A works on the security side of the IT industry.

Here is what he had to say:

Technology and information warfare have reached a new stage of sophistication. Not only is psychology optimally ‘weaponized’ in the way information is presented, but carefully crafted ‘profiles’ are used by companies like Google, YouTube, Amazon, and Facebook along with numerous ad tracking companies to show you advertisements that are the most likely to influence you.  If you, for example, put a search term into Google on your computer and look at the results, you will see a certain list in a certain order. If you do the same thing in a public library or on a computer at work with the identical search terms, there will be a different set of results. This is profitable for marketing purposes, but it can be used to suppress information as well.

The problem is that you don’t know what you aren’t being shown, and Google is making the decision on what you are to see! You are not being given an equally distributed set of information, but rather a curated subset of information. Twitter does ‘shadow banning’ where tweets from influential conservatives simply do not appear in the timeline of those that follow them. Again, you don’t know what you aren’t being shown, and so it is difficult to know when you have been presented incomplete information.

Additionally, disinformation campaigns are constantly being launched by extremist groups, corporations, and foreign nations aiming to flood the internet with information that confuses and divides people. Because it takes 10x more effort to refute a lie than it does to spread a lie, disinformation floods social media with disconcerting effectiveness. It’s not just about political elections either. Russia was recently caught spreading disinformation about vaccines of all things.

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous.