How the United States Came Strangely Close to George Orwell’s 1984
iPhone -> Social Media -> Algorithms -> Sensationalized Content -> Bots & Misinformation -> Lockdowns -> Echo Chambers -> Lack of Civil Discourse -> Biased Truth Councils -> Shadow Banning -> Two Party Division -> Advertiser & Gov. Tampering -> Crumbling Free Speech.
The two past decades have seen a significant shift in the way we consume information and interact with each other, largely driven by technological advancements. The timeline outlined in the statement above touches upon some key milestones in this journey.
The iPhone, first released in 2007, revolutionized the smartphone industry and paved the way for increased connectivity and mobile computing. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram gained immense popularity in the years following, allowing people to connect and share information with others around the world.
The rise of algorithms enabled these platforms to personalize content for individual users, leading to the sensationalization of content in order to capture and retain attention. The use of bots and misinformation campaigns further complicated matters, leading to increased polarization and the creation of echo chambers.
Facebook reportedly ignored its own research showing algorithms divided users
An internal Facebook report presented to executives in 2018 said, "Our algorithms exploit the human brain's attraction…
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns further exacerbated the situation, with people spending more time online and being exposed to a higher volume of content. Civil discourse was further eroded, and biased truth councils emerged to try and combat the spread of false information.
The common sentiment amongst people in the United States around that time was that the country had become so divided.
The concept of shadow banning, or selectively limiting the visibility of content or users, came into focus as a means of controlling the spread of “misinformation”. However, it has also been criticized as a tool for suppressing free speech.
In the political sphere, two-party division and tampering by both advertisers and government entities have further fueled polarization and distrust.
The platforms themselves began to become the new gatekeepers of speech. The elites of society, who controlled the platforms, started to use them as a means of controlling the narrative and suppressing dissenting voices through shadowbanning and censorship.
This is where Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter in 2022 comes into play. By taking control of the platform, Elon ensured that the voices of the people would not be suppressed. He prevented a dystopian future where free speech is a thing of the past and reinforced the foundation of democratic discourse.
Elon Musk outlined his vision for a more balanced and informative online environment. He has advocated for the removal of bots and the creation of a community of editors to ensure that content is accurate and balanced.
Musk has also called for less sensationalism and more entertainment and information, along with the inclusion of opposing viewpoints. He has suggested taking Twitter private, which would enable more control over the platform and potentially reduce the influence of advertisers and government entities.
Finally, Musk has spoken out against shadow banning, citing concerns about free speech and the potential for abuse. Overall, his vision for social media involves creating a more informed and balanced online community, with greater transparency and control over content.
The fall of mainstream media and the rise of Twitter gives me tremendous hope for the future.