I don’t recognize the Internet anymore.
A few years ago I went through a purging of social media and online accounts thinking that would help solve the problem of being slammed into a algorithm filter from hell. For a short period of time, it helped, the algorithm didn’t have anything to hoover from me. I used a VPN on my personal machine and never did personal work on my work machine. It wasn’t until I started venturing back into the foray of social media that things started to go astray.
It started off innocently, a reboot of Twitter after not using it for well over a year. The account had been locked the entire time so I had no new followers and I hadn’t followed anyone new in that time either. What was flowing through my feed though was unrecognizable from what I had remembered and was polarized to a harsh left leaning point of view. The followers causing all the problems were summarily removed and I started rebuilding with slightly more centered and moderate points of view. What that means essentially is some that lean right, some that lean left, some in the middle. I confused the hell out of the algorithm!
The next expansion was to Instagram. I know there isn’t a lot of “news” on Instagram, but the daughter wanted to get it now that she was 13 and one of the requirements was that we follow each other. I use my own account mainly for music interests and have actually found quite a few new bands that I normally would never have found through other means. What I was unaware of until just recently though is that Instagram is owned by Facebook, mean that the algorithm was hoovering data directly to the core.
This one documentary opened my eyes to something that I had suspected for a while but couldn’t quiet put into words. A feeling that there was something going on behind the scenes trying to guide the narrative in subtle ways. Try to find this documentary mentioned anywhere on Facebook and it will become clear that what I’m saying has some shred of truth. The algorithm is slowly moving us closer to the content we want to see, the content that makes us feel happy, the content that keeps us engaged on ads and making money for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
I woke up and saw the Internet for what it had become with open eyes since the early days back in the late 90’s. Conservatives were farther right than ever with their filtered feeds and liberals were farther left than ever with their filtered feeds. Ones like me, skeptical and asking questions, were in this massive abyss down the middle struggling to get any meaningful content that didn’t take us down a right or left leaning rabbit hole. Damn the algorithm and it’s simplistic efficiency!
Where the hell am I? How is this fixed?