If you follow me for a while now, you probably know that you are not Facebook’s customer.
You’re the product.
The advertisers are the customers since they pay money for Facebook’s services.
If it wasn’t SocialMediaBreakup that made you aware of this, it was probably the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma.
Facebook wants our data so they can sell that data to the advertisers and make money.
That’s why social media isn’t free.
We don’t pay with money but we do pay with our time and data.
Social media companies don’t want our data just so they can sell it to advertisers though.
Another reason is that the more they know about us, the better their prediction models become.
The more they know about us, the better they can predict what we like or how we feel before we are aware of these interests and feelings ourselves!
That’s why the content you see in the news feeds is not always content you enjoy seeing.
Nor is that content directly correlated to the content that you are currently consuming.
The reason you see particular content is because people like you who consumed similar content that you are now consuming, were interested in that next piece of content that is now recommended to you.
The algorithms know you will probably click on that content.
You might not like that content or you might not know anything about that content, but it will somehow intrigue you.
That’s why social media rabbit holes don’t always reflect what you know you’re interested in nor what you’re currently consuming.
You fall into these rabbit holes because others like you did the same.
What matters to such companies is that you simply jump into those rabbit holes, regardless of whether that content will be of any serious interest to you or not.
That’s how the content you are watching can escalate quickly.
From losing weight tips you’re suddenly exposed to content about anorexia or bulimia.
Then suddenly you’re witnessing a series of horror stories you never asked for or even thought about.
But you keep watching, and that’s all those companies care about.
So be careful when consuming content on social media.
Understand that the more time and data you invest in social media platforms, the better they know how to make you use your account for “just 5 more minutes”.
Again, you are the product.
Don’t think you can’t live without constant social media use, because you can.
Those companies certainly need gullible people to increase their power and domination.
So luckily you are not one of them (anymore).