“Just because you’re paranoid, don’t mean they’re not after you” – Kurt Cobain, after Joseph Heller
So by now I’m sure everybody’s heard about Facebook’s big social experiment in which they manipulated user’s feeds to only show positive or negative posts from their friends in their newsfeeds to test people’s reactions, which the called “emotional contagion”.
Yeah, that’s right. When bad things happen to people I have friendships or emotional investment in I feel sad for them, and when good things happen to said people I’m glad. Unless this is being read by sociopaths or narcissists, chances are you react that way too. Outside of Facebook’s corporate offices, this “emotional contagion” is more commonly known as “empathy”.
I’ve seen a lot of outrage over the lack of informed consent, concern for what might have happened to people already dealing with depression or other mental illnesses. For what it’s worth, I don’t know if I was a targeted or not, but I tend to be out of my gourd the first week in January anyway due to a PTSD “anniversary reaction”. I’m kind of hoping if I was this at least fucked with some of their data. I’ve read speculation that Facebook may opt to hide sad posts altogether, rendering people with depression “invisible”. But my big questions are, why are they interested in attempting to control our moods? And who are they acting in tandem with? Cornell University, for one. One video report I watched said it was “government funded”, a number of sites are questioning if the U.S. military provided any backing. Cornell initially said they had, but later retracted it. (Though it still says one of the researchers has moved on into Tobacco Control Research. Ok then.)
Meanwhile Lean-In-Feminism-For-The-1% Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg issued one of those half-assed “sorry you got offended” type apologies. Ok, so the bossy lady who tries to prove she’s not bossy by banning the word bossy was also involved in this control experiment. Hey guess what Hate Readers? If I thought I was right about that bullshit before, I feel so beyond vindicated now. Bite me. Again. Who all, besides her and the named researchers, is so interested in controlling people’s moods? And to what ends?
Paranoia is considered a symptom of schizoaffective disorder. Which leaves me with quite a little Cassandra complex to contend with on a good day. But the thing is, how do we define “paranoia” in a day to day world where I can increasingly with a few keystrokes pull up an article that shows my psychiatrist I’m correct? Do I think I’m being monitored? Sure, look up “NSA” and “Edward Snowden”. We all are. Though I find perverse humor in the thought of the lost souls employed by the NSA bored to tears as they monitor the 3,000,000th forwarding of a Grumpy Cat meme or banal recipe exchanges, posts about sports teams and movie stars, and other inconsequential fluff. I’m not one of those conspiracy types who believes every school shooter that makes headlines is a mind control subject and the Illuminati is furthermore planting clues about it in hip hop videos, but I don’t believe for a second that the government has abandoned attempts at mind control since the days of Project Artichoke and MKUltra. Media and advertising are rife with psychological manipulations. Why should it be surprising in the least that those in power would see social media as a playground for further attempts?