Credulity versus blaming network effects

Becoming Internet-smart

I saw this medium repost of an article in The Atlantic, “Google and Facebook Have Failed Us” and also some reactions to the post by Corey Pyle, Catherine Sophie, and Colton Colcleasure.

Corey writes that he does not want Facebook and Google to go down the path of censorship, acknowledging that neither Facebook or Google are journalistic platforms. He adds that consumers should do their research and not trust everything they read on the internet. Catherine reiterates that it is the consumer’s job to figure out what is news and what isn’t, but also mentions some people never will. Colton says technology companies should not be blamed for misinformation and puts the blame squarely on people who mindlessly spread such inaccurate information.

Our Credulousness

The headline for the post “Google and Facebook Have Failed Us” is sensational and click-bait as best.

The content plays into the gullibility of the readers.

Unfortunately, many of us are unable to adequately navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments for many situations. We, human beings are defined by our self- and social-awareness, evolved social beliefs and attitudes, and a capacity and appetite to manage complex social change. Many of us — and not necessarily children, the elderly, the uneducated, the uninformed, and the developmentally disabled — are easily tricked or manipulated into ill-advised courses of action.

Our credulousness is also to blame

Credulity is the tendency to be too ready to believe unlikely propositions that are unsupported by evidence and backed by facts.

Becoming Internet Smart

We live in a world of virtuous cycles, growth hacking, network effects, self-filling prophecy, economies, and diseconomies of scale, headline sensationalism and click-baiting.

Wifey: “Hey you want to step out?” — Sensational Headline
Me: “Yes, sure!” — The Click
Wifey: “Good, could you go out, throw the garbage and check the mail” — The Click Bait

We pay attention to click-throughs, funnel management, retention, engagement, resurrection, virality, viral loops, behavioral intelligence, hooking consumers by building “habit-forming products” and contagious products.

Every growth marketer, entrepreneur, and product manager will continuously push the envelope to make their product noticed and successful.

Every political hacker will continue to use the social and search tools to work the system, and unfortunately, outside the legal boundaries many times.

Platforms like Google, Twitter, Facebook, other mainstream silicon valley products will continue to be manipulated regardless of whether there are humans or computers behind it.

Incase you missed it: Google to buy Apple for $9 Billion 🙄

Reliability, credibility, news-worthiness, tenability, integrity, trustworthiness, veracity may become part of the vocabulary, but we have to continue being street smart when we use the internet.

Consumers have to become internet-smart

There are a lot of recommendations on the internet that help us identify fake content from real and satire content. Startups are attempting to solve the fake news problem using blockchain based ranking. Facebook and Google are experimenting with including trust sources in the algorithms, but that again is manipulable. Is Fox News a trustworthy resource to liberals, or Huffington Post to conservatives?

Credence — Gullibility — Credulity