Carole Cadwalladr's fascinating Ted Talk on social media's role in the Brexit campaign

(Louise Phillips) #1

Social media and the risk to democracy

If you want to continue to believe in democracy you need to see this talk…

Hats off to this amazing journalist and one of the best bits of investigative journalism I’ve seen in a very long time

(Jane Jones) #2

It’s brilliant isn’t it! I really felt for her as she was soooo nervous. There’s an interesting piece she wrote after it, here:

(Louise Phillips) #3

Thanks - looking forward to reading that :slight_smile:

(Ian Horswell) #4

Thank you!

(Mark Robbins) #5

I knew there was a good reason not to have anything to do with arsebook

(Sam Gish) #6

I just read the piece. Frightening in the extreme.

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(Peter Goble) #7

I find myself in disagreement with the rave reviews of Carol Cadwaladr’s grandstanding performance. I thought it shallow and self-absorbed and had little of intellectual analysis about it.

The relationship between the incredible technological revolution that is ‘social media’ and the hitherto dominant channels of human intercourse, political organisation and unquestioned historic institutions, is under convulsive strain.

Everybody experiences it at all levels of existence, in one own perception of self, as exemplified by uncritical narcissism and obsession with appearance and image; in family life with inter-generational mistrust and misundersdanding; and societal: where extreme ideological polarities and aggressive narratives are in the ascendent. Slogans trump debate, careful analysis and consensual processes are trashed by declarations like Trump’s ‘drain the swamp’ calls, and by banging the drums of war.

The social media are astounding and revolutionary and will not be restrained or regulated. Pandora’s box can not be shut. The state of affairs is shown as it is, red in tooth and claw, degenerate and heroic by turns and in correspondence, transcendentally beautiful and majestically ugly and obscene, two sides of the coin of how we are. Social media are our only hope of riding the Tiger, and we had better get used to an uncertain but fascinating future, to which SFN will have made a significant contribution.

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(Jane Jones) #8

I agree with you that Pandora’s box cannot be shut. But not the rest.

(Peter Goble) #9

I’m not saying it’s you, Jane, but it’s a very Anglo-Saxon attitude that wants to paper over the cracks of the human condition, or - as the Bible puts it - whitewash the charnel house; or as the Victorians did, put skirts on table legs lest their curves rouse the animal passions in the gentlefolk at dinner.

It isn’t going to work. No-one who believes in humankind will wear that kind of hypocrisy, which has so little faith in human resilience and basic integrity.

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(Louise Phillips) #10

To condense 2.5 year’s worth of investigative journalism into just 15 minutes, while at the same time including an in depth 'intellectual analysis is no easy feat. I know I for one couldn’t do that.

The role of Ted Talk is to arouse interest and get people thinking. It doesn’t allow time for much more.

Given her restrictions, what she did was to open people’s eyes to the rather insidious manner that channelled advertising via social media was/is being used to illegally propagate lies and sway public opinion. She touches the tip of the iceberg.

Those illegal hidden social media campaigns simply reinforced the pro-brexit campaign, giving it the ‘upper edge’, and lies which are published in many different places eventually become believable.

Unfortunately ‘humankind’ can very easily be led and manipulated and not because it’s stupid but because it doesn’t have time for intellectual analysis of news flashes, feeds and printed banners, as it’s working 8 hours a day, bringing up families. It’s also counting on the glimpses of information it’s fed as reliable, truthful or at least objective.

(Ann Coe) #11

I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends (by that I mean peole I have actually met and like) in various parts of the world.
I also belong to a gardening club where we share tips , ask questions and post photos.
I am shared admin on a selling site for our region and also a member of RIFT.
I have security set up that prevents people I don’t know from publishing on my wall.
As it’s a ‘free site’ I don’t mind that FB sometimes posts, what it thinks I may be interested in on my wall, I either signal or delete, easy to do.

What I can’t understand are the people who have hundreds of ‘friends’ , who post articles willy nilly, whose ‘friends’ then share without even reading the whole content of the article or without trying to find if its factual.
This is the danger with FB but IMO that’s down to the users … rubbish in, rubbish out !

(Peter Goble) #12

@Louise_Phillips: “humankind…doesn’t have time for intellectual analysis…”

I don’t disagree with what you say, Louise, but are you suggesting that people with families don’t often ask themselves, and each other, what are we working eight hours a day, and bringing up our children for?

I’m no more and no less intelligent than other examples of humankind, but I’ve seldom met another who doesn’t give serious thought to what the purpose of her life might be, aside from the daily grind and the proximate concerns that involve us all. We are not robots.

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(Louise Phillips) #13

I certainly can’t come up with stats, but as far as I can see, there are those that have time on their hands to contemplate and question, and those that just don’t have time or energy to question anything because they’re busy ‘living’. It’s those in the latter, who end up being manipulated from misinformation and why a balance of truth is kind of important.
Although humankind isn’t a race a robots the human brain, under certain conditions is perhaps more easily ‘programmable’ and fragile than is comfortable for us to believe. If you take subliminal advertising as an example, practially anyone can be ‘influenced’ without even being aware…

(Jeanette Leuers) #14

Extreme danger! To give up on contemplation and questioning. Its worse that not eating or sleeping properly. Obligatory religious observations obliged folk to take part and shut down the daily grind, in other times, now, with more freedom from deliberate controls, more possibility of choice, each of us can be pooter addicts or workaholics or die however we choose, all without a moments thought. I agree it is very very hard…to escape the stress sometimes…but to be swept along by this or that idea, or crowd influence…without thought…can take you to nightmare places, with profound, lifelong, regret. There are no guarantees in coming up with right and good answers and solutions, but making the space in thought and reason, for that possibility… no matter what happens…? I can’t think how to end my own sentence!

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