Imagine a world in which 99 percent of a society draws on news spread by only one means, without any verification and that after its publication – or sometimes, ads – will evaporate forever. Imagine that society is receiving this biased (or even manipulated) information in a systematic way for months and is finally confronted with an election in which it must decide for something critical in its future. Well, this Orwellian situation is what the journalist Carole Cadwalladr described without hairs on the tongue before the attendees attending a TED Talk: Facebook had manipulated voters in favor of Brexit, said bluntly, through ads on its platform .
This investigative journalist showed on the screen some Kafkian ads that warned that the European Union (EU), the enemy to beat, intends to fill the islands with millions of Albanians, Turks and other nationals from outside the Union that, apparently They will arrive en masse to take the jobs away from the British. The announcement was signed by the initiative, Vote Leave (vote to leave the EU). Of course, at no time had it been raised in the Union and in the countries cited its incorporation into the group even in terms of rumor. Nothing, the information starts from nothing.
Bulls, bears and even t
Posts to manipulate a less informed society (the ads have focused on rural areas), the reality list is marked by who decides to publish the ad. How far can it be reached? In another publicity that has not escaped the screenshots of some alarmed users, a polar bear was shown who accompanied a text: the EU blocks initiatives to save polar bears; but there is more, in another capture a bullfighter is shown and the text is enough of animal abuse, a very meritorious claim but not related, at all, with the European Union, perhaps implying that the United Kingdom was going to hold bullfights. And put to manipulate, the architects of this strategy even hinted that the EU wanted to stop the t, the most sacred in those latitudes
Given the consequences, it is clear that the Brexit campaign was a success for the supporters of the Vote Leave, and we will not remind you of the crossroads where the country is right now, and by extension, the rest of the passes of the Union , in one of the biggest institutional crises that is remembered and that can have a direct impact on the pockets of citizens. Yes, intentionally biased information on Facebook can directly affect the taxpayers' pocket and here we begin to understand the importance of the strategy.
The endless shadow of misinformation
Mark Zuckerberg himself was forced to admit the Cambridge Analytica disaster, in which the system had extracted particular information from its users in order to allow the dreaded profiles (user classification by income, gender, location and preferences of all kinds ) and sell them for further exploitation. What happened with Brexit is just the tip of the iceberg of a new reality in which informative manipulation can be carried out in mass and with consequences, if possible, worse.
The new generations live the bulk of their time on social networks and barely spend minutes a week to inform themselves about other vas, such as press, radio or even podcasts, which transforms into a breeding ground for disaster since it is conveniently generated uninformed has a powerful weapon with which it can do a lot of damage: the votes. On many occasions the media are condescending to this generation of social networks such as millennials, generation X and other acrnimos to distinguish the one that comes from other roots, that of traditional media. But this generation has access to the same vote as the rest, and the elections change governments.
We do not want to be stubborn but the thing looks frankly bad, because despite the good declaration of intentions of Zuckerberg and company, there is no effective way to control the veracity of the information of what is published on social networks and the amount of hoaxes and fake news that travels at other speeds of the house other products, such as WhatsApp. The only effective solution? Wake up in these users the critical spirit and inform themselves very well, consulting all fronts, before having something as powerful in the hands as a vote.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.