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I Hate Conditioning!

So I’ve been reading lots of articles lately on the topic of social conditioning and the practice that has begun to be used by Social networking sites such as Google, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

Social conditioning

is the sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society. The concept is stronger than that of socialization, which is the process of inheriting norms, customs and ideologies.

I first started reading about this on a post accusing Facebook, probably the world's largest social networking site. A report by the N.Y. Times came out in 2014 about how Facebook experimented on unsuspecting users by deliberately filtering the news, friends posts, advertisements and even the size of photos that they received over their feeds, in an attempt to alter their moods. When questioned about this, Facebook did not only admit to this, they also suggested other networking sites did the same thing.

“The company says users consent to this kind of manipulation when they agree to its terms of service. But in the quick judgment of the Internet, that argument was not universally accepted”.

Google and its many sister sites and applications have also come under fire for their selective censorship practices, as well as, blacklists that seem to be targeted at content that does not meet Google's moral standards. Both Google and YouTube have faced lawsuits from religious, political and business entities for their unfair treatment. Conservative websites such as Daily Wire have filed recent complaints for the strict guidelines and unequal treatment when it comes to the sharing of their content. They claim that their site have to go through more strenuous “fact checking” than their counterparts, such as The Huffington Post.

“When Google's employees or algorithms decide to block our access to information about a news item, political candidate or business, opinions and votes can shift, reputations can be ruined and businesses can crash and burn. Because online censorship is entirely unregulated at the moment, victims have little or no recourse when they have been harmed.”

Twitter has been in the news lately for the use of “Shadow Banning”

Shadow banning

(also called stealth banning, ghost banning or comment ghosting) is the act of blocking a user or their content from an online community such that the user does not realize that they have been banned.

In a recent article by conservative news outlets, Undercover video of conversations with Twitter program engineers, discovered the use of Shadow Banning to censor publications from conservative source.

“I have been a critic of some of James O'Keefe's work in the past, so I have the credentials to say the following: What O'Keefe has produced is not just extraordinary but it demands national attention.

“If social media is the communications vehicle of the future -- and it is -- then this represents the most sinister threat to free speech in history. That is no exaggeration.

“The radical left is out to censor the voices of all with whom they disagree. O'Keefe has proven it. Every American needs to watch this -- if, of course, Twitter will allow it.”

We live in a relative new frontier of technology that many of us still have not gotten a complete handle of. Though many people have a good idea of how to work their computers, play with small codes, use certain applications and even run certain programs, when it comes to the more sophisticated coding and algorithms, most people, like me, draw a blank stare. We understand these programs are out there. We suspect that there are algorithms working behind the scenes of some of our favorite sites. We even joke about our phones and other devices spying on us because of the seemingly random relative posts or advertisements that pop up shortly after having talked about them. We choose not to think about it too often because of the conveniences these sites provide for us , but if one really digs into the possibilities of having the power of knowledge over every individual running their programs ,we are forced to wander into the rabbit hole.

Even though the term “Fake News” has been wildly over used in the last two years by our Twitter happy President, the understanding of the role that all Media has played in altering opinions and skewing perceptions based on ideology has been around since the start of American History.

“The Founding Fathers were well aware of the power of the press, for good or ill. After all, many of them, such as Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine, were newspapermen and pamphleteers. The revolutionary ideas they disseminated throughout the colonies found eager readers, putting them high on King George III’s enemies list.”

They also understood the dangers of a Free Press. They understood that by giving it no restrictions, the standards for the information being shared was likely to empower their publishers.

“(Ben)Franklin noted that the bar for entry into journalism is remarkably low, with no requirement regarding “Ability, Integrity, Knowledge.” He said the liberty of the press can easily turn into the “liberty of affronting, calumniating, and defaming one another.”

Still they side with “Freedom of Truth”

“I am […] for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the Constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents.” Thomas Jefferson.

Aside from the Press, we have similar Social Conditioning in Hollywood. It has been long known that the influence movies and television shows have had on the viewers has impacted political, social and international views. It is no coincidence that movie villains in the ‘70s and ‘80s have been Russian or German, or, more recently, That shows have featured a more “Alternative Lifestyle” characters or topics. Daily millions of people sit around the T.V. to catch their favorite shows, or head to the theater to watch the newest movie. These show and movies were, of course, written by people with ideals and/or agendas. Unfortunately, most people do not notice the conditioning that is being sought-after through the entertainment.

It is not a surprise to me that this sort of Social Conditioning is happening. Even on my own Facebook page, I've been getting reports that only certain posts by my page have been seen on news feeds, despite the many topics I cover. It leaves me to wonder if it’s my content that is being censored or if it’s my followers who are being conditioned, or both .

With extraordinary power usually comes tyranny, but unlike the Imperialist conquests of the past, which were fought with military force, this conquest will be fought with the power over information. It wouldn't have been long until web corporations figured out they can filter what we see in order to push a certain perception, if, in fact, they hadn't been doing it from the very start.

As I have been finding out, this form of manipulation is definitely being used, it’s being used unknowingly by a large percentage of people, and it’s being used by, not only, the Press, and in entertainment, but also in the information we search for and from the sites we have grown accustomed to keeping us in touch with our world.

Don't be afraid.... That ringing you hear in your ears is just a bit of ...