Weapons of Mass Manipulation

The question is, once you start to monopolize what people are thinking about, is that actually good for society? What is that vulnerable to? Where could that go wrong?”

These are questions asked by a former Google employee, Tristan Harris. He talks about the gadgets we use; and the time we spend on social media.

MIT Technology Review and The Atlantic quoted him:

So, it’s not about giving you all this freedom. It’s about sucking you in to take your time.
For any company whose business model is advertising, or engagement-based advertising,
meaning they care about the amount of time someone spends on the product,
they make more money the more time people spend.

So, the game becomes, how can I throw different persuasive techniques to get people to stay,
to spend as long as possible, and to come back tomorrow?

Now, the founder of Time Well Spent, he’s asking the tech industry to bring “ethical designs” to its products. Harris is asking his peers to think differently when designing apps. He is asking them to think what’s in the best interest of consumers.

According to the MIT Technology Review, “ Facebook is reportedly letting some brands try sifting through public posts and comments (sans usernames) to help them target users.”

Of his time at Google, as one who helped design the Gmail inbox app, Harris says:

…never before in history have 50, mostly male, 20-to-35-year-old designers,
working at three tech companies,
influenced how a billion people spend their time.

He describes some of the apps used by social media platforms: they are designed using the same basic principles used when designing slot machines for casinos.

Next time when you use your smartphone, on your favorite sites, ask yourself:
Are you using them?
Or are they using you?

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Mariana Fieraru
Mariana Fieraru, an Eastern European transplant, fell in love with her new home shortly after landing in New York. She "discovered" pizza! Years later she still loves pizza. And so do her two feathered-kids, Sunny and Flipper

Mariana worked on both, the east and the west coast.
Big or small, each project she worked on helped define the importance of gaining and sustaining a competitive edge in an increasingly complex business environment.

Business know-how, love of teaching and writing – all combined in 2006 to form OBI.
Its mission: to make learning fun! And easy.

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