International

Facebook Face Offs

People are Facebooked as it is the most potent scientific marvel that can come quite handy in indoctrinating the citizenry.

By Imran Jan | April 2021

facebook-faceoff

The major threats facing humanity include the threat of nuclear war, climate change, and the erosion of democracy around the world. We have witnessed the ugly face of democracy in the form of ultra-right nationalist tendencies marching across the United States, parts of Europe, and India.

The tech companies that erupted after the dot com bubble mainly claimed to give freedom and power to individual voices. Computers and the internet became essential tools in the hands of billions of people to be connected, defying enormous distances. YouTube allowed people the ability to broadcast themselves, cutting through the various layers of production. Social media companies, especially Facebook and Twitter, claimed to allow people the ability to raise their voices and be connected to each other. Their efforts of democratizing the world in reality stand in stark contrast to exactly that.

There are more sources of information, yet less informed people. There are more voices, yet less congruence and convergence on issues. People are connected more and more easily, yetthey are more and chronically divided. There are more avenues of information, yet more and more people lean toward conspiracy theories instead of the truth. Perhaps all this misinformation is not despite the social platform. Truth be told, misinformation rules because of these social media platforms. Something must be wrong or we fail or refuse to see it at our own peril.

The Myanmar military exploited the Facebook platform to instill hatred for the Rohingya Muslims in the minds of the citizens. People posing as regular music fans highlighted Islam as the enemy of Buddhism. Many talked about fictitious stories of Muslim men raping Buddhist women. The result was genocidal violence and mass displacement of innocent Rohingya Muslims, who were homeless and defenceless in their own country. Facebook very conveniently looked the other way when its platform was used for the justification of the genocide. Two year later, Facebook was again instrumental in genocidal violence perpetrated against Muslims inside Ethiopia and then in Sri Lanka.

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It is not like citizens of a country are drugged in order to create feelings of hatred against certain people who usually happen to be their fellow citizens. Instead, they are Facebooked, which is the most potent scientific marvel that can come quite handy in indoctrinating the citizenry. The United States saw the election of Donald Trump in 2016, largely due to the massive propaganda campaign unleashed by the Russians using none other than Facebook. The fingerprints of Facebook are somehow found where violence, mass murder and democratic erosion happen.

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