Roy Fellows

                                Google and facebook: Masters of the universe

Other stuff hub                      Home








In a way we probably all think of ourselves as consumers, but thanks to media such as Google and facebook, we are actually becoming the product.



At a recent conference in the USA, investigative journalist and author Peter Schweizer explained why Silicon Valley’s business model of providing free services is so effective.

 “When you first look at Google on the surface, it’s a great company. They give you this incredible search capability, this access to information basically for free, in the sense that you’re not paying a fee for it, but what you always have to keep in mind, the old saying, ‘The extent for which they can do something for you, they can do something to you,’ and then the question becomes is what are Google’s goals and ends?” claimed Schweizer. “We know they’re a business, we know these guys have become fabulously wealthy, that is certainly part of their goal. There’s a business, they want to make money, but there’s always been lurking this sort of Utopian sense of social mission. However you want to define it, that Google has.

 We’ve had glimpses of it, but we don’t have a full picture,” he continued, adding, “There’s no question they’re manipulating us. The question is why. Some of it, of course, is to monetize, but the other part of it resembles this sort of social mission, this desire to steer us into directions that we may not want to go. To get us to embrace certain ideas or our children to embrace certain ideas and values that they think are important, and the manner in which they do that is precisely what we’ve been discussing.

 It’s to suppress certain ideas. And here’s the problem, I think most people in this room, most Americans have this sense of media bias. That media bias is there. Dan Rather maybe made a snide comment, or you go to a cable news network and they give you certain slants on a position. That’s visible. We’re all aware of that,” Schweizer declared. “If you spend five minutes watching the news you can detect oftentimes the media bias. The problem with this: You don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know, ultimately, what information you’re not getting, and they’re giving you this sort of facade that they’re giving you the best, they’re giving you the most accurate, they’re giving you the most informative, and the bottom line is that simply isn’t true.

 Schweizer then explained that, “Sergey Brin, one of the co-founders of Google, said the perfect search engine will resemble the mind of God,” before asking, “What does that mean? And who is God? Does that make the people writing the algorithms God? Do they have a Godlike sense of their purpose?

 I think this is one of the reasons we have to have greater transparency,” he concluded. “We need to know what they are feeding these algorithms and what is in a sense being fed to us, and being fed to our children, and being fed to our family members, because if we don’t know that, we are completely flying blind."

Never before in the history of the human race has organisations wielded so much power, and in so doing made their principals so much money. Fifty, sixty, or seventy billion US dollars, all by gathering and selling our personal information and profiles. Every email sent using G Mail is analysed and recorded, complex algorithms analyse our profiles, our politics, our buying habits and much much more from what we post on facebook.

To make things worse, there is no freedom of speech with this kind of media as everything we see is being slanted and filtered in a way that would put our own BBC to shame. These organisations would have been Joseph Goebel's wet dream. What we buy, where we shop, our politics, our very thinking, constantly manipulated to conform to the wishes of those who run these organisations.

But wait, there is even more power elsewhere. Where? In the hands of the people, ordinary people like you and I. We exorcise our power in democratic elections, we can exorcise our power also in 'check book voting'.

Close your facebook account, instead go out and meet real people, make proper friends, socialise. Use something like Duck Duck Go as a search engine, boycott the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter etc. Together we can put them out of business. Lets kick ass.

If you want on line chat, sign up to a hobby website that caters for your particular hobby interest, you will find instant new friends who share your interest.