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We would like to introduce an interesting and horrifying concept.
What if Facebook’s algorithms are actually steering victims to scammers right now?
The incredibly brilliant sociologist Zeynep Tufekci explains how these algorithms are already controlling what we see and where we go online. So why is it difficult to think that in fact your behaviors are directing you to high risk pages, groups, and people who are ultimately there to scam you?
After all, a scam is just another kind of sales process – selling you on the fantastical fairytale, so they can get your money. It’s really no different (mechanically) from selling you Coke or a Chevy or a Political Message. A scammer is really just a salesman – selling you what you want to buy, even though it is not real.
From her TED presentation:
“We’re [meaning the online industry] building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren’t even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us — and what we can do in response.”
But it is also the law of unforeseen consequences at work here too.
We encourage you to watch the video carefully and think about this concept. The concept that the unforseen consequence of all of these marketing algorithms that decide what to show you next, are in FACT lining up a steady stream of high risk scammers for you to fall victim too.
Our chairman is also a TED member and alumnist. Perhaps in the future we will also be able to present the connections we see about this topic. But for now, it is up to each of you to share this concept with your circle of family and friends. Because it isn’t just limited to scammers. It can be steering your children to sex at an earlier and earlier age, or to drug use, or to becoming victims of human trafficking, or to extreme radicalization, or to criminalization, or just to hate.
These algorithms – and not just on Facebook, but on YouTube, and Google – are analyzing your interests and behaviors and feeding you more of what THEY think your will want, pushing you to the extreme is just another technique.
Steering you towards unsafe behaviors – scams – serves the purpose of keeping you online longer. It exposes you to more ads in the process. Think about your online habits before and then during the scam. We bet you increased your online time dramatically while you were communicating with your scammer. For Facebook, that is a desirable outcome.
Knowing about the snake in the grass is the first step in avoiding them – but YOU have to share this message, and get off of your BUTT to do it!
It’s up to you. But if you never do, don’t come back an complain about how the world led you and yours into the darkness.
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