Category: Social Media

Rabbit Holes, Relatives and Friends

The covid era has been a difficult time during which many relationships with family and friends have been wrenched apart over polarised differences of views about what it has all meant and who, or what, is responsible. This polarisation of society has been ramped up by politicians, “experts” and the media. While this polarisation was actively sought by the authorities as a way of maintaining control, it was important for opposing ideas to not become mainstream and those who rejected the official narrative were therefore targeted and cast as conspiracy theorists, covid deniers and anti-vaxxers.

Techniques employed governments, social media platforms, and mainstream media outlets against dissidents and dissident ideas included:

  1. Censorship: Governments and social media platforms implemented policies and practices aimed at removing content that was deemed to be false or misleading. While these efforts were largely intended to combat misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19, they also had the effect of limiting the spread of dissenting views and alternative perspectives.
  2. Dismissal: Some mainstream media outlets and public figures dismissed or downplayed dissenting views about COVID-19, characterizing them as conspiratorial or anti-science. This framing may have contributed to a stigmatisation of dissenting viewpoints and a reluctance among some individuals to express or engage with alternative perspectives.
  3. Harassment: Individuals who expressed dissenting views about COVID-19, including scientists, healthcare professionals, and members of the public, faced harassment and attacks online and in person. This harassment had a chilling effect on the expression of alternative perspectives and created a hostile environment for dissenters.
  4. Polarisation: The COVID-19 pandemic has been a highly polarising issue, with individuals and communities divided along political, ideological, and cultural lines. This polarisation may have made it more difficult for dissenting views to be heard and engaged with, as individuals were more likely to dismiss or ignore perspectives that were seen as belonging to an opposing camp.

Throughout the covid period, mainstream media articles appeared on a fairly regular basis that were aimed at mostly younger people concerning the seemingly offbeat opinions and beliefs of often older parents, uncles or whacko friends. While these articles purported to offer sympathy and advice to distraught relatives of people caught up in conspiracy and misinformation rabbit holes, close examination reveals them to be propaganda vehicles designed to discredit nonconforming views and provide advice to mainstream friends and relatives on how to deal with and (hopefully) de-programme them.

Continue reading “Rabbit Holes, Relatives and Friends”

Six women challenging the world order right now

Being a New Zealander, the role of women as equal and active participants in civic affairs is not a unsurprising to me—New Zealand was the first country in the world where women achieved universal suffrage (in 1893). Only twenty years ago, New Zealand was the first country in the world to have the five highest offices of power simultaneously held by women, with the Sovereign Queen Elizabeth II of New Zealand, Governor-General Silvia Cartwright, Prime Minister Helen Clark, Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives Margaret Wilson and Chief Justice Sian Elias. In 2017, the country has just elected the dynamic and articulate 37 year old Jacinda Ardern as its third female Prime Minister.

Against this background, it is not a huge shock to me that the advance of women in the public sphere has been a notable aspect of the modern international resistance to the chaos that has been unleashed upon the world in the 21st Century. Rather, I find it encouraging that so many strong, highly motivated women seem to be taking a lead in exposing the corruption and moral bankruptcy of the political and corporate so-called “leaders” that front the criminal elites. Elites, who for their own greed and lust for power, have taken the world into seemingly endless wars, poverty and starvation for millions, a global environmental catastrophe and, perhaps even, our ultimate extinction as a species.

So, I would like to tell you about six women who have been an inspiration to me in my own personal journey to make sense of what is happening around us, who is responsible for the situation in which we find ourselves and, just perhaps, what we can do about it. Continue reading “Six women challenging the world order right now”

Eight easy steps to exit Facebook

It is now 10 years since I first signed up to Facebook and over that time it has turned from being a fun way to interact with friends and family into what has at times seemed a necessary window on the world. As with hundreds of millions of other Facebook users, my involvement with Facebook grew until my family, extended family, my friends and even some business contacts were on my friends list. I was now in touch with relatives and friends I had not seen or spoken to in 30 years. I had joined myriad groups and added likes and follows to all sorts of special interest topics. Clubs I had joined outside of Facebook used it to communicate about events and news. The Facebook NewsFeed was my first port of call for daily news and events. More lately, my wife and I started a business, and Facebook became a key element in our marketing plan to attract and communicate with customers.

But, growing discomfort with the privacy aspects of Facebook has been added to in recent times by the way various governments and special interest groups have managed to strongarm Facebook into censoring content they deem offensive or politically unacceptable. This governmental reach has taken on sinister dimensions since the advent of so-called “war on terror”, where ever more draconian laws have been passed giving the security services reach into the data transmitted over the Internet and, especially data stored on computers hosted in the USA.

Continue reading “Eight easy steps to exit Facebook”