Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Social Media Manipulation
Question: Write an essay on "Social Media Manipulation". Answer: Social media manipulation is the methodology that involves deliberate portrayal of an illusion or crafting an argument that serves the purpose of a particular individual, cause, community or group. In most cases these groups involve a particular party. The propaganda of a wrong notion to the mass is one of the tactics while the other techniques are use of false logic, suppression of true information and often making vicious attempt of diverting attention of the populace. It has been noted from time immemorial that the common mass has a very limited attention span and media manipulation functions exactly pin pointing on this psychology. Hence, social media manipulation is a process which often resorts to unethical practices to accomplish certain objectives. But incorporation of certain ethical principles may propel social media manipulation (SMM) into a more positive direction. The FCC once decided to propagate net neutrality by regulating broadband as a tool for public, eliminating any scope for discrimination between high paying users and the low paying ones in regards of speeding up traffic (Newhoff 2015). This has been, undoubtedly, viewed as a boon as it appeared to protect universal digital rights on one hand, and the government reaching out into the free market, on the other. But this has not kept at bay the unethical practices related to the information manipulation theory (Lee 2014). Viewed from both sides, the entire action seems to pave the way to freedom of speech and expression, which is a primary requirement of human mind that craves for freedom even before the basics. And in this regard, the credit also goes to the internet giants like Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon, eBay etc (Newhoff 2015). But the notion, that digital media is the only tool that can be banked upon for freedom of expression and democracy, is a myth. Presently Facebook happens to be the most cherished social networking site used by members irrespective of age, sex, nationality, caste or creed. It has been now known for both manipulation of image and text (Manipulation by information 2010). Hence, it is utterly easy to manipulate public opinion or color the expression for or against a definite issue through Facebook. It is not illiteracy or lack of intelligence that plays the convict in this context, but aggregated impression that actually colors the thought process (Newhoff 2015). Unless someone is tedious enough to delve deep inside every story or perform thorough research, it is quite obvious to be influenced by conglomeration of images, posts and headlines. When someone performs a Google search, the researcher, in most cases, happens to search the first page only. The one who failed to exist on the first page actually ceases to exist on internet (Newhoff 2015). So search results are doctored by social media leading to optimizing the preferences. Social media somewhat dramatically plays with peoples thoughts, ideas and emotions and cunningly serves certain purpose or ascertain political outcomes and the entire act of guile goes unnoticed (Birkett 2016). The discussion, though, highlights the gloomy aspect of social media manipulation, there are ways which can be persuaded to convert or influence SMM for the best interest of people. The most important change that must be brought in this regard is to incorporate many different layers of editorial and journalistic positions within the system of SMM vertically (Ward n.d.). And in this respect it must be said that the manifold vertical layers should include citizen journalists and bloggers in the newsroom or such vigilant individuals must be somehow closely related with the newsroom. Moreover, every manipulative attempt must have to be evaluated by the global community and social media platforms must pave the way for free exchange of opinions on every such promotions having manipulative power (Ward n.d.). And it is primarily such revamping of the entire system of SMM that is going to ensure the presence of ethical principles in its domain. References Birkett, A. (2016). Online Manipulation: All The Ways Youre Currently Being Deceived. Lee, K. (2016). How to Win Friends and Influence Your Audience: 10 Theories to Know For Greater Persuasion. Newhoff, D. (2015). Social Medias Power to Manipulate. [online] The Illusion of More. Ward, S. (n.d.). Digital Media Ethics. [online] University of Wisconsis.