General Question

RayaHope's avatar

Are we all just being manipulated by media to buy products and to further social divide?

Asked by RayaHope (7448points) August 5th, 2022

I have seen videos about Facebook making incredible amounts of money by allowing bots to make content for us to consume ads and instigate hate and fear so they can keep selling stuff. It is a devious plot to keep us engaged so we will continue to watch and click.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

25 Answers

rebbel's avatar


I don’t believe in a plot.
I do believe in greed(y companies).
And manipulatible (?) people (all of us).

jca2's avatar

I haven’t heard about the products themselves causing social divide, but there’s no doubt that social media targets consumers with their advertising.

Smashley's avatar

More or less. Anger, division, cruelty, Schadenfreude, are easy to create, harder to repair, and attract attention, which means revenue in the current model.

Smashley's avatar

Plus we all love a good narrative. We are a social, storytelling species, and we understand the world through the stories we tell. We tend to accept the things that fit our stories, and reject those that don’t. Google figured out how to build us personal information bubbles, so now just about everything you read on the internet is designed to fit into some kind of larger story.

Journalists are a righteous bunch, and the news itself isn’t usually fake, but the larger stories that we are sold can be. And in the end, yes, it’s just about buying stuff and voting for people.

HP's avatar

Why is the word “just” in this question?

elbanditoroso's avatar

We are as manipulated as we let ourselves be. Sure, there are companies that will try and convince yout. But you have to be smart enough to recognize it and deny it.

RayaHope's avatar

@HP Okay taking out “just” still doesn’t change my question substantially…does it?

HP's avatar

It changes it considerably. Is English your primary language?

WhyNow's avatar

A big YES we are being manipulated! By government. We are called extremists, racists,
a danger to society etc. if we disagree with the government. The media like sheep just
follow gov talking points. Because of the internet americans are seeing the light of truth.

So… RayaHope live your life!, for good for bad, make mistakes, learn. If they call you
names say thank you may I have another.

RayaHope's avatar

@WhyNow Thank you, I do make mistakes. But I know you are a good person and I do appreciate you :)

JLeslie's avatar

I think Facebook does make some efforts to go after bots, they are forced to by the FBI and CIA, but Facebook doesn’t do it enough, and yes I think they sometimes purposely were happy to sit back and let bots and trolls heat up Facebook so people were spending more hours on Facebook.

Like I said on another Q, I’m conspiracy minded that foreign and domestic terrorists use social media to create unrest and divide in America.

Certainly, advertising aims to manipulate people.

It’s up to us to not be easily manipulated. Being skeptical is a good thing. Do your own research, don’t buy on impulse. Realize our natural inclination for cognitive biases.

@HP I disagree with what you said about her wording. It’s probably a regional thing.

Nomore_Tantrums's avatar

Probably so, but it’s been going on for years, long before the advent of the internet. F B is just one more tool that the capitalist movers and shakers have adopted to their own purposes. But I don’t understand the reasoning behind stirring political divisiveness. Seems to me the old mantra of “Buy buy buy, then go back to sleep” would suit their purposes much better. I mean, if I’m online looking for a deal on a car or apartment, I don’t need to be distracted by political crap.

WhyNow's avatar

One good thing about Europe is they don’t consider (mostly) having things to
be the good life. The way you live is the good life.

HP's avatar

@JLeslie This isn’t a matter of regional distinctions, and I don’t pick nits over such stuff. There is a subsantial difference between being manipulated by the media, and JUST being manipulated. The “JUST” is vague and open to several interpretations (such as manipulation as the SOLE purpose of media), IT MATTERS regardless of regional deviations.

JLeslie's avatar

@HP I understand your point about it can be interpreted as it being the sole purpose or the sole manipulator. The OP said that taking out just doesn’t change the intent of her question much, so take it out.

You can answer how much you think the media is doing it no matter how the OP worded it.

flutherother's avatar

We became citizens by standing up to vested interests and proclaiming our dignity as human beings. But then vested interests had their revenge and turned us into consumers.

HP's avatar

So eliminate “just”. Who would dispute what’s left? The resulting social division might not be always deliberate nor necessarily a result. But advertising is a synonym for manipulation.

chefl's avatar

I don’t have an definte answer to the question but, @WhyNow what does “live your life for good or for bad.” and “make mistakes” mean?

RayaHope's avatar

@chefl I didn’t even see the bad part of his comment. I think I was too preoccupied.

Zaku's avatar

What do you mean by “Are we all just . . .”?

“Just”, as opposed to what?

It reads to me like you’re asking “are we doing anything else in life?” to which the answer is definitely “no, we are doing quite a few other things.”

I’m trying to imagine what else you might mean . . . you mention “media” and “Zuckface” . . . again, while much (or even, most) commercial media is trying to manipulate us to buy corporate (crap er . . .) products, even Zuckface and media have some other elements to them.

But maybe “just” was just a word tossed in there, and you really meant something more like, “Is media almost all produced with the intention of selling stuff?” then ”almost all, at some level or another, yes, though you can avoid it, for instance by logging into your free Fluther account so you don’t see ads, unless you count that you’re creating “content” which may draw other people who may see an ad. But there are still many other aspects of the activity which aren’t at all about commercial stuff”.

HP's avatar

@Zaku So you too recognize the significance of “just” in this question?

Zaku's avatar

@HP As my answer describes, it did throw me. I hadn’t read the answers before mine first, or I wouldn’t have gone on about it like that.

seawulf575's avatar

Not all ads are trying to divide us, but there are some. There are “news” reports that do more of that. There are Government representatives that do even more of it.

You cannot control them. You can control you. Set your standards and hold to them. Be what you believe is a good person and don’t let the opinion of others change you from that. Oftentimes things are said to try suppressing opposition opinions…“You must be a racist if you don’t agree” sort of things. Substitute whatever slam you like for “racist” and the result is the same. If you buy into that sort of thing, you are letting others dictate who they want you to be, not who YOU think you should be.

RayaHope's avatar

@seawulf575 Very good advise, thank you

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther