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Manipulating Reality: Facebook Is Listening to You

Manipulating Reality: Facebook Is Listening to You

Mel Gurtov

One thing we have become all too used to is that our reality can be manipulated to create the appearance of something else entirely. Invading another country is defensive, rigged elections are passed off as democracy in action, more guns (or more nuclear weapons) ensure the peace, trade and foreign investment increase jobs at home. Orwellian logic has become commonplace.


Damn, I guess there is no advertising for Progress. I have yet to see such an ad…

I’m a big fan of technology - new energy technologies, transportation technologies, aviation, building material and method technologies, innovative urban design that is centered on human needs not cars and corporations, the exploration of space; computer analytical methods that allow great advances in science, engineering design and visualization of the results - and an internet that once held the promise to make all the discoveries available to all - creating a society of citizen-scientists.

But now, the very word “technology” has come to mean the technological methods of controlling all human wants and desires and the destruction of all human community, kinship, solidarity, art, beauty and companionship itself - replacing it with humans engineered to be “consuming and working machines” - pursuant to the single minded objective of utterly mindless profit and wealth concentration into the hands of a small minority of the power-hungry.

With regard to this latter definition of “technology” I’m proud to say that I’m a luddite.

I’ll continue to use the internet (with caution) to pursue my sense of wonder regarding our beautiful Earth and Universe, and to engage in discussions of provocative ideas with others I would otherwise never meet. A unfashionable plain old home-assembled desktop PC without camera or microphone works fine for this.


I wish I could recall the guest’s name, but I can’t. In any case, Amy Goodman recently interviewed a woman who explained that the new version of Microsoft 10 being offered for free–once downloaded–includes the means for The Listeners to in fact turn on one’s computer microphone and likely, its camera. Also, that Keystroke item that records what people type is rendered operational via this “new” program.

Laura Poitrass, the director of significant documentaries keeps her computer camera covered.

As I’ve joked in the past, “The times have caught up with the paranoids.” It’s not the product of a hyperbolic imagination to consider that each of us might be listened in on.

Facebook has always reminded me of Andy Warhol’s quote about everyone wanting their 5 minutes of Fame crossed with the desperate wish (on the part of millions) to be noticed within a population pool that’s risen above 6 billion.


This an article on windows 10 and all the spying it does. keep in mind under the NDA which in legalese and near impossible to understand without legal help this all deemed legal.

That said this spying is not even related just to windows. Mr Snowden revealed that the NSA can use any cellphone to listen into a conversation even if that phone turned off. The locations of cell phones can be tracked even if turned off. He recommends you keep your cell phone in the fridge.


Thank you. I’ll check it out. I have noticed a similar synchronicity (as that which the article’s author relates), but I thought it was from google searches.

Those horribly obnoxious people, like Rachel from “card services” keep their phones in the fridge to make cold calls.

I bought an item from a clothier and thereafter their ad
appeared every time I went on line. Eventually I called customer service and told them the ad was counterproductive and unless
they deceased I would never buy from them again, viola, it worked!

If you ever tried to read the terms of service (45 pages,or so)
for updating various apps you use to enhance your internet
experience, you’ll find that you must surrender any hope of
privacy or do without.

Big brother is here!

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No way, Bill Gates just likes to give stuff away because he is such a good person. (Sarcasm)

My cell phone and computer internet are on different providers. Recenty, in a private phone text message I said something like “that’s like comparing apples to egg-beaters” Stupid phrase, I know, but the next day what should appear are adds for egg-beaters on my computer. Not only are they watching what you say, but they are also trading this information between different corporations.


A friend once said to me, when I was complaining about money, “Money’s easy. You can always get more money. But you can’t get any more time.”

I tried FB but really couldn’t handle it- all the gyrations and manipulations, the emotions, and most of all the TIME that goes into it- time which was not refundable.

Just using the computer and the Web has fundamentally changed my life and my habits, as it has for almost everyone in our society by now.

I notice that a nearby park, a beautiful little place, is too empty, too often. Sometimes it’s completely empty even at 8 or 9 on a fine Saturday morning. Oh, people go there still, but not nearly as much as twenty years ago.

Time is going to screens on machines. “Where your treasure is there your heart is also” the saying goes.
FB didn’t work for me. So I avoid one particular form of record-keeping about details of my life- most of which I don’t even notice or remember myself!

The computer screen has been the default go-to, whether it’s nice or rainy, whether other people are around to talk to or not. I mean, speaking just for myself. However, I am pretty sure a lot of people are in the same situation.

But there’s a big good side to all of this communications revolution too. Boredom rarely affects me anymore [and when it does it is a sign of illness].

And It’s possible to look up anything, which in the past required trips to a library or inter-library loan requests, and lots of waiting and effort involved, only to get someone’s opinion from an encyclopedia, for example.

The whole computer/internet entity is certainly the most powerful social force I've ever seen, in terms of aligning huge numbers of people into almost identical activities, often even at the same moment.  Obviously, television and radio  were first with that kind of Pied Piper attraction, but the computer and internet are the next step beyond "just television". 
 I've learned so much, but on the other hand, have gotten  out of shape from too much sitting around reading.  

There are many good aspects- different for each person. There’s no end of fascinating things to find here on the computer and on the Web.

But the time spent was formerly spent doing other things. Not always better, but sometimes better, or healthier.

It’s a choice. Sort of like, say, eating is a choice- it’s almost that powerful. What I mean is that a person modifies his own behavior due to the influence and temptations of digital living, and as long as those changes are positive ones, great; but it is also, obviously, possible to degenerate and become a “computer chair potato” and avoid things that should be or need to be done- it’s so much easier to watch a Netflix, or write a rambling and tangent-infested comment like this one.

But maybe that’s the coffee. I’ll look it up, in a minute…

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