Monthly Archives: September 2017

“Deluge” of information makes it difficult for social media users to recognize true and false statements

Mark Zuckerberg argues that more information reaching more people enhances democracy. But, as the adage goes, quantity does not equal quality.

Source: Facebook Built Its Vision of Democracy on Bad Math | WIRED

The linked article says social media users are under a deluge of information overload – there is now so much information in our news feeds – much of it fake or false – that we are unable to distinguish between the real and the false.

This concept also applies to comments at the end of online newspaper articles where anyone can write what they want, even if untrue. To illustrate, our local paper had an item somewhat related to the topic of climate change. A commenter provided the (logical fallacy) argument that since sea levels were 400 feet lower 15,000 years ago, we had best be worried! That sounds like a compelling argument – until you learn of the context.

Most such logical fallacy comments are left “as is”, and can turn into a “factoid meme” which is actually false. No one offers a correction or context to the stated item.

Another commenter pointed out it was 26,500 years ago, not 15,000 years ago, when the sea was 400 feet lower. During that period, we had an Ice Age and much of Europe and North America was buried under massive ice sheets. When you see the context, you see that the first comment is an invalid argument. Yet many people may see only the first comment and may then pass that idea along to others via social media. Almost no one cross checks and verifies claims made on social media!

And how can we? We are inundated with false claims and logical fallacies through the fire hose of social media content. More information is not making us better informed – instead it is making us dumber.

Propagandists find new way to reach Facebook users

Propagandists find new way to reach Facebook users:

Through an unknown mechanism, these junk sites are managing to get their content posted on verified celebrity Facebook pages and spread to millions of users who find themselves inundated with spam, fake news, ads, and tracking software.

Which then results in:

Facebook users who “liked’ the pages of celebrities with large followings are inundated with spam and fake news

Which is another illustration of how social media is a friction-less platform for the spread of propaganda. Indeed, the primary purpose of social media is propaganda messaging.

And then this – to which I add, Huh?

According to Matt Britton, chief executive officer of New York-based marketing technology firm CrowdTap, part of the race for readers’ attention is known as influencer marketing: a relatively new and largely unregulated area of digital advertising in which brands use celebrities or influential social media personalities to endorse products, thus encouraging fans to buy them.

“Influencer marketing” is old and in this example, it is the “celebrity endorsement” model of propaganda messaging.

Source: Misinfluencers, Inc.: How Fake News Is Reaching Millions Using Verified Facebook Accounts

Why do we play the national anthem at sports events?

Sports is entertainment.

Why do we play the national anthem at sports events?

Why do we not play the national anthem at concerts, plays and other entertainment events?

Because professional baseball, about 100 years ago sought to leverage patriotism in their marketing program – playing the national anthem at baseball games used the propaganda method of “transference” – literally transferring a feeling of patriotism to the playing of a pro sports baseball game. This was specifically to market professional baseball games.

Later, other sports adopted this marketing propaganda. Eventually it made its way to middle school and high school athletic events, but primarily football. There is rarely a band available for baseball, soccer, track, tennis, swimming and a host of other sports. Yet this practice of playing the national anthem at sports events has been ingrained in to our thinking – we no longer realize that we have been duped into a marketing charade.

I wrote about this a year an half ago in February 2016 – “How pro sports uses the national anthem for promotional propaganda“. Read it.

Sports businesses have found that linking themselves to patriotism is a successful business strategy. Why do sports teams play the national anthem at the start of each game? This is not something we do at most activities.

The reason is because it is good for business: See “Why do we sing the national anthem at sporting events?” Linking the military with pro sports began during World War I as a way of tying patriotism to sports attendance. By World War II, the playing of a recorded national anthem became common place at professional baseball games. In the 1950s, the playing of the national anthem gradually migrated to other sports.

It seems neither President Trump nor some NFL football players understand they have been duped in to becoming cogs in this propaganda machine.

Read the link and then ask yourself, “Why do we play the national anthem at selected sports events and not others? Why is sports the primary venue at which we play the national anthem?

Understanding this helps you to see the goofiness of NFL players and President Trump.

The real issue is: Why do we even play the national anthem at professional entertainment business activities (aka pro sports)?