WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said, in an interview with Russia Today, that Facebook was “the most appalling spy machine that has ever been invented.” Assange said he believes Facebook is a giant database of names and records about people, maintained voluntarily(!) by its users but developed for U.S. intelligence to use. As Assange says:
Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies, and building this database for them.”
While Assange backs away from claiming that Facebook is actually run by U.S. intelligence agencies and says the fact that they have access to its records is dangerous. But the relationship between Facebook and U.S. elites and their intelligence agencies may be closer than that. There are certainly things that suggest a closer look is required. You have to ask yourself about the money for example. Facebook is not a small application and even in its infancy it would have required massive computing power. Who paid for that power, and why? You also have to note that Facebook itself was created by an elite student, at an elite university, in a context where elite norms and values rule the day. Surprising enough when you think about it, but the real kick in the head is the fact that Facebook executives are conducting massive (and massively unethical) experiments on users. In a paper published in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences entitled “Experimental Evidence of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion Through Social Networks,” Facebook scientists reported the results of a massive CIA linked experiment designed to see if they could control emotions.
Now I know that many people reading this are going to doubt the possibility. We live in free democracies after all and our governments are all about the good, the strong, and the pure. Unfortunately that’s an extremely naive position. The CIA has been conducting experiments on consciousness and mass consciousness since their LSD work in the fifties and sixties (look up Project MKUltra), and while Facebook and other social media may try to distance themselves from military connections, quickly erasing intimations and implications of connection (Martens and Martens, 2014), the financial and social linkages are clearly there, if somebody would just bother to look (hint, hint). And if this doesn’t convince you to question that blue monstrosity you’ve plugged yourself into, consider Google, the other big intelligence technology. It has been recently noted that Google is capable of rigging elections (Epstein, 2015). That’s, incredible and incredibly powerful. Google hasn’t been around for even a decade and already it can powerfully influence elections anywhere in the world!. Think about that for a moment. Can you imagine what that kind of power could do in the hands of the right, or (scared to think) wrong person. The mind boggles at the thought. Clearly, the game has changed. At this point I find myself asking, “Is the human race capable of handling this?” I’m an optimist at heart, but looking at the embarrassing fiasco that is the U.S. elections, I’m not so sure anymore. If something doesn’t change we may all very well be doomed.
Strange times we live in. Strange times. Strange times. Strange times.
 And the results? Success! By manipulating the users news feed, Facebook’s science teams were able to manipulate mass emotion. Of course, they framed it in the context of public health; but in a world where manipulation of mass consciousness is carried out on a minute by minute basis, the ability of powerful humans to use social media to create, modify, and control emotions is remarkable, noteworthy, and just a little bit frightening. Facebook is global, after all, so we’re talking about not local, not national, but global manipulation of the population! That sort of power has never been available to Earthlings before! I mean, can you imagine if Facebook had been available to Stalin, or Hitler, or worse? Even without the possibility that a global dictator might arise and exploit all the wonderful new toys “social media” toys the big boys have created over the past twenty years, it is still a democratic problematic. If a U.S. president wants to drum up support for an attack on Palestine, or perhaps a home-soil “terrorist” cull, they could simply order Facebook and other social media to “tweak the feed,” thereby sowing fear, anger, and even hatred. And of course other social media would be probably be involved. If the boys and girls behind Facebook don’t see a problem conducting unethical research (Verma, 2014) and manipulating the masses Kramer, et. al, 2014), surely there are others.
Epstein, R. (2015). How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election. Retrieved from www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/08/how-google-could-rig-the-2016-election-121548
Kramer, A. D. I., Guillory, J. E., & Hancock, J. T. (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(24), 8788-8790. Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.abstractN2 –
Martens, Pam & Martents, Russ (2014). Facebook’s Experiment and its CIA Roots. Wall Street on Parade. [http://wallstreetonparade.com/2014/07/facebook%E2%80%99s-experiment-and-its-cia-roots/]
Verma, I. M. (2014). Psychological and Cognitive Sciences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(29), 10779. Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full.pdf
Written by Mike S.