Now we all know that everything we do online is being monitored , not regular parental monitoring or friend's spying but a deeper what we do every other second on the internet kind of monitoring. don't believe me, try this very simple experiment go to Google type "phone for sale" and then you can see a whole bunch of ads for phones that will pop up on your Facebook timeline after a while, As well as other websites you visit. It's all because of those cookies that leave a trail which we generally ignore. Yes Facebook by law is allowed to sell our information to a third party. Remember that I agree button that you pressed while signing up for Facebook . That really has made us to agree many things actually.
So if you're a cautious person like me, who has gone and tick marked all those boxes on various websites that will say donot share my information with anyone even then we're being monitored . Go to Google and type drugs and surf a few websites about it after sometime the government will send you a message sharing awareness on drugs . It's the same if you open a few articles about drugs on Facebook.So what is that! that is telling you you're being watched. Now being watched is one thing but what if I tell you that internet has become so powerful that it now even has the capability to change your mind affect your decisions. There is a company that is being accused of making trump win the elections and England choosing brexit .
I know What you'd say that I'm just drawing lines from a black mirrors episode , so imagine if I tell you there's a software that can know you even better than you know yourself just by analysing the posts you like on social media.75 likes and it will know you better than your friends do, 150 likes better then even your parents know you and over 300 likes even better then your spouse knows you. Need more proof reality isn't stranger than fiction ( black mirror)
So how is this possible, what started off as a small project on the understanding of the human mind has probable lead to a shifting and altering human conciousness at an individual as well as at mass level. In 1980's a psychological model that was called as the big five was developed. it was studying various behaviours of people Based on all the answers they were able to give you a relatively accurate assessment of a person. But during 1980's the main problem was collecting all the data . But then came internet followed by Facebook , Google, Yahoo and huge variety of sources. With millions of people out there putting their personal information on these websites especially with those likes. That was made possible and it can go through analysis of populations understanding their affiliation or even human behaviour a little better .
So up to this point it's not so bad, right what can go wrong they're just monitoring us , but if the internet is changing me from someone who doesn't have an issue with a particular religious group to someone who hate them. Then I think it pretty much qualifies as bad I guess. Don't believe me try this go and type "Islamic group" in your browser than after Wikipedia and it's definition the next couple of pages are only about terrorism and our opinions about those groups would be easily swayed right? But if you go 3-4 search pages down you would find great pages on Islamic groups which are buried deep under. Which means internet is very much capable of showing us both side of same story but it won't because one side of the story is more consumed.
So why is this done?
We've all heard about divide and rule technique while learning history, when people who are fearful just don't trust each other and they make better servants. The software I was talking about in the beginning is capable of doing the same thing and this software belongs to a company called as Cambridge analytica . According to its CEO they were able to profile every American in USA successfully. That's roughly 22 crore people and then with the help of big five model and big data analytics they were able to divide this entire population into various profiles according to their personalities.
So what do you do with all this data out there?
You could use it to manipulate and sway people's opinions. Well all this data can be used to show you only what it is that you like or only what you follow. It can also be cleverly used to change your mind. Hundreds and thousands of sleeping bots will start influencing a trending topic and trending topic really influence the algorithm for example take fire cracker ban in Delhi earlier everyone even it's citizens came in support of it . But slowly after chetan bhagat's tweets which were shoved down to us by the online media by producing an article each featuring one tweet of his, people now are actually starting to believe chetan might be true. The websites might not be propagating his ideology but in order to cover a trending topic they're just forcing us to take notice. The more traffic a particular sites gets , the more links and more clicks it starts acquiring and then slowly the more authoritative that site would seem.
Did Cambridge analytics pass all this information on just to manipulate the trump vote and brexit?
Maybe they did maybe they didn't . Maybe another group of hackers may have done it. if a company can have it so can other companies too who are just not revealing it. Which only raises one question, if people can be this easily manipulated with the power of internet in countries like America or England how diversly internet can be used on us Indians. When the original divide and rule was implemented on our fragile population. For all we know looking at the current tide of politics and the current trending issues that are influencing them
Jio is already making its way into rural India and what I'm afraid of is these people can be easily brainwashed and their opinions can be easily swayed. currently we have around 23 crore Facebook users and around 3 crore Twitter users and 34 crore smartphone users in fact we are even said to be the world's largest consumers of data. In simpler words who ever owns this data and controls it, they will also own the future of India
So, how do we get away from this loop how do we know that we're being manipulated or not. Maybe we would never know or Maybe we just need more awareness abut terms and conditions of what we use and more awareness on rights to privacy laws which are not very strong in our country compared to others.
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