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Weaponized Comments by Design

May 30, 2024 | Conscious Communication, Daily Trek

Weaponized Comments by Design - Ayelet Baron - Radical Trekking

Are you aware that the creators of social media platforms have weaponized comments, turning them into tools for division and clicks?

Since social media began, we can clearly see these networks aren’t truly social. They function more as advertising and broadcasting platforms, built on popularity and influence. If they were genuinely social, we wouldn’t have followers, likes, and influencers. Instead, we’d have real dialogue and community, which we rarely do.

We often shout or praise each other in comments, but rarely listen. Welcome to the realm of gatekeepers and marketers.

Lately, more people realize these platforms also weaponize comments, creating wider divisions. They thrive on an endless need for publicity and attention, driving us to consume more.

The latest buzz? Comments on social networks are algorithm-driven. They filter according to your interests, creating echo chambers. Two people see the same post but different comments. Cool? Not really. It’s clustering beliefs and dividing us further.

An AI and marketing expert recently stirred things up. He shared on social media, “Algorithms divide us more than I ever thought, and even comments are engineered this way.” His post blew up, but it begs the question: where was he all these years? Why didn’t he promote networks that encourage real dialogue? Ironically, his post got loads of likes, reposts, and comments—success in marketing himself, perhaps? Maybe he got more gigs?

Studies reveal that people manipulate social media in various ways: through disinformation campaigns, political manipulation, digital hate speech, and radicalization efforts. We exploit algorithms to filter and personalize content, creating echo chambers and reinforcing existing biases. For example, coordinated disinformation has influenced elections and fueled inter-communal violence, amplifying grievances and triggering conflicts.

Orwell’s 1984 left us breadcrumbs. Aldous Huxley warned, “Countless audiences passively soak in the tepid bath of nonsense. No mental effort is demanded of them, no participation; they need only sit and keep their eyes open.”

We need critical thinkers who question everything. An ancient technology called dialogue is available to each of us. But real conversations require listening, questioning, humility and breathing—not fighting to be right.

Instead of being shocked, we have opportunities to create and lead rather than follow. Imagine a world without followers, influencers, and division. True community isn’t about popularity and egos. Is it time to question how personal branding and marketing influence us and change what and how we consume?

Trust, relationships, and community are the real currencies of our times. Who we trust matters more than ever at this critical time in our history. Less outrage, more deep connection perhaps?

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