We live in a strange world today. Technology has created an environment where getting data and crunching numbers becomes easy. Once the numbers has been crunched, social media has enabled us to publish the data and our own thoughts and interpretation on it. The data and the interpretation is then consumed by the mass population in an instant through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. There has never been a time where social networks has been such powerful platform for interacting with the mass population and potentially influencing them. This has created a very interesting opportunity for cunning crafty individuals who can potentially use this medium towards their advantage.
Throughout history politicians and other cunning individuals have tried to present a biased one sided information to the population in a way that benefits only them. When some enlightened people have attempted to remove the blindfold, they have been silenced. The War is a good example. Joseph Goebbels successfully put blindfold over the Germans during the War. When enlightened educated individuals such as Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans Scholl tried to raise awareness, they were executed by the SS.
Unfortunately, manipulating the mass population by individuals and certain media exists even today. It is said that the Russians manipulated the 2016 US elections by publishing fake news through Facebook and other social media. The extent of the influence is still debatable. News media constantly produce biased news content and their biased interpretation of the data ( although being a liberal, I find CNN pretty annoying because they constantly criticize Mr. Trump even though some of Trump’s decisions needs applause). Campaign managers, politicians, bankers, salespersons, car dealers and even recruiters always use crafty mechanism to influence their customers and clients. They publish an interpretation of the data that benefits only them. They will highlight only those facts that portray them positively and hide and downplay data that are negative. For example, fund managers highlights funds that show decent returns and silently kills funds which have failed. There are no such brochures which highlight their failed mutual fund products. They will change the names of the funds to hide their weakness. Car dealers will never ever tell you the faults or weaknesses of the used car. They will downplay accident reports and even mislead and misinform you if they find you naive. Recruiters do the same. They use strong market conditions to highlight how strong their numbers are. They will not hesitate to hide important details from their clients which would falsify their strong apparent position. They also paint a rosy picture based on cherry picking good numbers. During a downturn they go hide in the caves.
Social media is a powerful tool in the hands of such individuals. Manipulation happens constantly, every day in our lives. In fact, we live in a world where we constantly get biased manipulated information through social media. In fact, one has to constantly fight and spend enormous amount of time and energy to dig deep to obtain the truth. These fact manipulators will do everything in their power to fool you, will fight you when you dig deep, will try to silence you and will hold the gun to your head if they could, all attempts targeted towards preventing you from turning over the coin and looking at the other side of it. I am virtually convinced that it’s almost impossible today to get unbiased true picture of any fact or event given the amount of brainwashing we get every day and how polarized and manipulative our world is. Social media has only made it worse.
Yet, we smart educated individuals are not fools. No one has the right to treat us as idiots. None of us deserves to be manipulated by individuals who earn their living by manipulation, people who only care about money and power and will not hesitate to do anything, however morally wrong their action is, to achieve their goals. They will fight us to get to the truth, downplay the facts we bring to the forefront, silence us, intimidate us and even use our weaknesses against us for a few extra $$. It is upon us to fight this. Every single day, because some battles are worth fighting for.