The CBC's Passionate Eye has its fear-mongering agitprop piece The Persuasion of Silicon Valley. The point of this piece is to scare people away from social media, but in such a way as to scare them all while flattering them.
The hypothesis of typical: There are mind manipulators out there brainwashing people into voting for someone the press decreed was The Bad Guy! They will steal everyone's brain...
Well, not everyone's brain. Not you viewer, of course. You're too smart for that...but it is happening to your uncle, your co-worker, maybe even your dumb kids...
You will notice these kinds of propagandistic messages never target the audience. This isn't directed at people who voted for Trump, ironically, but people who voted for Hillary.
The hypothesis is that no American would have ever voted for Trump if it weren't for Russians and Facebook.
Yes, the Axis of Evil, Version 2.0.
Except the hypothesis doesn't fly because you would have to ignore that Clinton won the popular vote. You would have to ignore the lifelong Republicans and the people who were repulsed by Clinton and would have never voted for her, anyway.
All political parties engage in the same dirty tricks. They don't get have focus groups -- they hook them up to all sorts of machines to test their physiological reactions to various speeches and information as well as ad campaigns.
Yet someone will win and someone will lose, and the Democrats and the traditional press were so used to making decrees that they thought the vote-shaming alone would be enough.
They cannot admit their own ineffectual campaigning brought them defeat, so now it has been one giant conspiracy theory coupled with a confirmation bias.
We are living in an Age of Propaganda that extends to Meta-Propaganda, as this documentary is. We are to assume that people are so stupid that they have to be brainwashed to go out and vote.
Politics is a form of war, and war is deception...
And yet, people will vote the way they want to vote.
Speaking for myself, I have never purchased anything from the ads on my Facebook page -- or any other one. Amazon just never got to know me, and every book recommendation they have given me was a total miss. I do not believe in the Left or Right, both sides which I see as arrogant grifters and bullies who think that no one can see through their tyrannical games.
I worked in journalism and I know that arrogance of reporters telling people what to think, and getting angry if people have their own ideas.
Now that journalism has failed, they are willing to destroy society to prove they are "right" and still matter. In other words, they are being trolls.
Should you be worried about Facebook? Not really. It does not have the power to brainwash you are hypnotize you based on what pictures of your cat you post online.
For all the scare about Big Brother and Big Data -- it doesn't have the control people think it does -- for all the #MeToo narrative, there are people -- men and women -- who have not been swayed in their opinion at all.
The Facebook obsession is a self-serving one: traditional journalism is jealous that Facebook broke them because they are weak. The squawking is nothing more than a crude form of propaganda that exaggerates.
Besides, Facebook was always amateur press release for the average citizen: it shows check ins at airports, vacation selfies, and pop culture consumption to go along with snarky or inspirational memes -- people put their best foot forward...
But in order for psychological manipulation to be successful, you have to know people's fears and demons. It is the dark side of human nature that makes them vulnerable to it, and when people are posting pictures of the brat's piano recital or the anniversary pictures of their grandparents, there isn't that much to work with.
Meaning social media feeds are mostly filled with inane and benign lies and exaggerations.
Lots and lots of cats.
You should be skeptical of information you receive, regardless of the source, but not paranoid, and certainly not fearful.
And any documentary that tries to scare you is one that is using fear as a base is trying to convince to trust them instead of your own instincts.
Social media is a liberator that broke the shackles traditional media had on the public. Traditional media is trying to re-chain people by going back to the past where they told people what to think and how to think it.
It is far better to be out in the wild than stuck in a cage. It is like walking out in the open, where you have full control of where you are going, but you still have to be vigilant so you don't get hit by a truck...but it is still better to be careful as you walk on the same street where trucks drive than to be holed up in a cage because there is some remote chance of getting hit.
It won't happen if you think before you cross.
And no matter how safe a cage seems, if a predator has you trapped, you cannot merely walk away from the danger if you sense it.
Journalism never addressed their own manipulative games and methods, and they are not in the position to frighten anyone with any dread tales.
I would look into who is feeding journalists their information -- what PR firms are being used, and who is footing their bills.
Because it is a campaign to try to do to people what they claim others are doing.
But not to you, of course.
You're too smart for that.
And just in case you get a little frightened or beguiled by the lockstep message, remember to do your own thinking, and have a look at a face like this...
And remember, they didn't let anyone tell them what to do, or persuade them.
Believe me, I tried...