One of the problems we face is that it’s easy to get people to agree with the premise that social media manipulates people, but difficult to get them to believe that they, personally, are being manipulated.
“You’re converting people’s lives into digital models. Collecting all the data the leave out in the world, and using that to both forecast their behavior and to manipulate them.” – Roger McNamee
The manipulation is generally very subtle. But a small effect, repeated and built over thousands of interactions, can develop into substantial changes in behavior, and in beliefs.
This all seems pretty innocuous when it’s a laundry soap advertiser trying to get you to switch to their brand. But various kinds of bad actors have also used these tools very effectively.
These bad actors don’t need to reach everyone. They only need to find those who are susceptible to their manipulation. Then they turn the screws to get what they want.