Monday 26 June 2023

Social Media - Aria Gupta

Wait! Don’t just ignore this article! I know that you’re thinking, Ugh, this is going to be so predictable; it’s going to be about addiction, fake news, mental health, and blah blah blah, but this article is not like that. Trust me, this will be interesting, so just read it. 

I recently watched a documentary called The Social Dilemma. It was about what social media actually does to us. You might think, "Social Media makes us addicted," but another problem is invisible to most people. It’s based on this saying: "If you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product".

We all know that social media platforms (what we think are products), such as  Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, are free.

I was baffled, too, when I heard this saying. But social media is  actually just selling our attention to advertisers since advertisers are the ones who 
actually, pay.

These platforms’ algorithms can do anything to grab our attention. They know you like you’re their best friend. They know if you are sad, lonely, happy, angry, excited, or scared; they know exactly what you want when feeling any of those emotions. If you want private guitar lessons, they know you want them. If they don’t know, they learn. They will recommend all sorts of content they think you’ll like, and you’ll pick one. The problem with this system is that they’ll recommend content that might be incorrect or controversial, and you might pick one of them. This has huge effects, as it can divide societies. This might turn India from unity in diversity to a separate nation. The algorithm doesn’t care about what is true or false; it just wants more attention from people to sell to advertisers. They can manipulate us into believing anything; they can control entire elections. We’re just lab rats who are being experimented on.

After reading this, you might think, "Oh my god, social media is so bad, I’ll never use it again". This is not against social media completely; this article is just spreading awareness amongst them and you so they don’t accidentally destroy the world.

We can spread more awareness about this by telling more people about it and being mindful about it. We can demand change so that the world doesn’t collapse. Something terrible might happen if we keep ignoring this issue.

But Aria? How do you become the product if you’re not paying for it? I’m baffled.

Fine, Aria, we are the product. So what?

Aria Gupta
Grade VI
Gyanshree school

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