Bots, Algorithms and Automation
Let's start by saying something real; I'm an automation fan. I'm one guy marketing on the internet. I know that digital is the realm of "multiplicity"rather than analogue. The two things are really quite different. One's a musket, the other's a Gatling gun.
Multiplicity allows me to spread my messages across the vastness of the internet. It's the same tool which the major channels use to sell their wares. I call utilizing these tools "leverage," leveraging my time in the digital domain. Corporatism understands using lots of workers to funnel money to a few bosses, it's their core game.
The major platforms are like huge cattle stations in the outback. The cattle or sheep are kept tethered. They are muzaked soothing stories about how they are uniquely powerful individuals, yet their diet rarely departs from a steady staple of pre-processed pellets from the same sources. The sound you hear is flatulence, swishing tails, that hum of steaming dung piles and buzzing flies. Some people call it horseshit.
Facebook has no issue in using your page to sell you stuff. In fact any advertiser can bid on the premium placement right in the middle of your page on most social networks, or the top right corner which draws the eyes of western readers.
Advertisers get to use automation. I'm sure the same ads shown to me are shown to you too. We're back to the old graffiti versus advertising conundrum again, the only legitimacy is that one is a corporate tool in the hands of the powerful.
There is no pressing issue with the social networks being given your information for "free" and then selling it on. They will argue that what you are doing is entering into an agreement with them which precludes me accessing your data, nice little switch. A mutually exclusive relationship where they get to sleep around and you, well you get to watch.
It's like a scene from friends, only Facebook is not friends and cousin Joey ain't cousin Joey, he's got serious venereal disease from the skanks he's slept with but tells you he's a virgin just about to go to the seminary.
There is no issue with social networks defining and determining your access, what information you receive or how you get to use the network. You accept the stipulations laid down for you and nod accordingly, tail swishing.
Yet, I'm a "spammer," a pirate of internet user's attention. Because I use automated tools to find and address my audience, the networks will shut me down. Yet they will sell exactly the same access to me as a "legitimate buyer." I'm stealing data they say...except I'm not stealing it. I'm using the access to the data. I'm "stealing"access.
This is why they're so preoccupied with "your privacy." It's a fig leaf. What they're saying is that the farm gate that holds you in is in fact a "safety precaution" against my "theft of your data." Study that the duplicity of that idea, even for a moment. It's a very old one, usually called by it's colloquial name; "a protection racket." Remember power is control over people.
Access, reach, distribution - three sides of the same thing.
When the European Union (a concept which doesn't exist) placed the GDPR legislation on the online sphere, they said we're stopping spammers.
Really! My quota of Nigerian prince emails didn't slow down for a minute. No, they were erecting a paywall, like the rest of the corporatists. They saw the strategic value and profitability in shutting down the flow or "sharing"of information.
When I use an automated tool to move between silos or spread my posts across different channels, that is extremely bad, yet Nike owns 19 distinct Instagram channels. No issue there.
One of the tricks of data is that the raw data is not lost by being used. Data has multiple uses to multiple users. Processed data is more valuable, but so too is misinformation and disinformation. Data is a tool with just as much utility as money. It can be leveraged. It can be withheld, it can flood the market. It can be multiplied. It has "currency" value. It has scarcity value and compound interest (the more I know the more secure are the decisions I can make on it).
No wonder they want me to use a single chisel, while they get to own the mine. Capitalist was always thus. Cordoning off the commons (shared information) for profit, calling it private and hiring an army of enforcers with the proceeds.
As an individual you've given your information to Facebook (or other platform). In turn Facebook sells that information to advertisers and other third parties. Part two of that process is that Facebook sells access back to you.
You've empowered that entity to profit from your stupidity and level "interest" on your borrowed mindlessness.
As an individual they'll use automation against you, but advise you that automation is "against privacy," yet, as noted, they've no issue with selling your data to whoever has the shekels.
On Twitter the Bot army is something similar. It's fine to use bots against you but you using bots to widen your reach and audience is heartily discouraged. Seems a similar thing; your "reach" is low because you're the product and audience, not the seller.
One final issue: why is it so wrong to want to network on social networks? Isn't that what you signed up for?
You gave your original profile info for free, so did everyone else. The profit is in the sale of data and attention. No wonder the plebs are told that automation is "bad." That's where the power is (hence the money), in the privatization of data, automation and mining of a precious resource.
The ability to reach them all ( 1 to many, many to 1) but not allow them to reach anyone at all (1-1). The intensely "public" private individual and incredibly private public corporation.
The classic privatize gains, socialize losses strategy.
One last touchpoint; when you add your data to a platform, many times it ceases to be "yours." You've have given the control of it to the platform owners, in much the same way as depositors lose control ( not ownership, yet, ...that would make you a slave, at the whim of a master) of the money the put in a bank. The bank "leverages" it, converts it and "lends"it.
If you extend this argument to it's conclusion, someday a digital platform may seek to convince you that it too is"too big to fail." Fakebook indeed.
The socialists said that "work is a unit of currency." If I create something online and don't own the platform on which I work, who owns my creation? Platform owners strongly identify with the notion that you are a digital serf on a private plantation. Watch that ideology carefully.
Who controls your communication? Who controls how you can say it, what you can say, when and who to? Who controls your access to "real" information?
It should be you. Is it?
It's not a "conspiracy" if it's just business as usual.