Over the past decades, social media has exponentially grown to create a world where over half the population are connected through a screen.
However, this has created many societal problems, which are widely unknown to users who are being manipulated by the companies that have their own agenda to make a profit from their users.
Rebecca Lendl, the chief operating officer for the Center for Humane Technology, has spent her career focusing on fighting for social change in the tech industry.
The Center for Humane Technology is a non-profit organization that strives to raise awareness of the corruption of controlling tech platforms.
“The Center for Humane Technology is trying to make the case that all of the harms we see are coming from a single cause, and that cause is persuasive algorithms that have their own agenda to capture our attention,” Lendl said.
In the early 2000s, addiction was mostly associated with drugs and alcohol. However, in recent years, addiction has heightened in younger generations, with the underlying cause being social media. Easily accessible apps have become highly addictive through machine learning that creates an endless cycle of manipulation and addiction, keeping users online for hours on end.
“The way that these products are designed are exploiting the way that we are wired biologically to capture our attention. We are all innately susceptible to these tricks,” Lendl said.
Social media has allowed users to voice their opinion, which has amplified the problems of racism, sexism, and homophobia, among other forms of bigotry.
According to The New York Times, disinformation campaigns became viral on Twitter and Facebook, denying systemic oppression. Relating to George Floyd’s death, social media platforms presented a variety of misinformation, including the idea that Floyd’s death was fake, reaching around 1.3 million people.
Technology has affected society for better or for worse. However, many are trying to shine a light on the problems that stem from social media, including addiction, systemic oppression, a decrease in attention span, social relationships, and political polarization.