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Viewpoint | Social Media and a Surveillance Society

To the Editor:

Re “The Knowledge Coup,” by Shoshana Zuboff (Sunday Critique, Jan. 31):

Though there’s a complete great deal of truth of the matter in Dr. Zuboff’s epic get on huge data’s “epistemic coup,” her wondering demonstrates an underlying conviction that persons can be cynically managed by repetitive exposure to device-curated misinformation.

As someone who’s frequently associated in the focusing on and concept-making side of the two manufacturer and political campaigns, I imagine the evidence paints a a lot more nuanced photo — that facts-pushed persuasion is usually limited to leveraging current biases versus changing the ideologically unwashed. For evidence, you never have to look a great deal even more than the most the latest election cycle, in which Democrats, inspite of a significant digitally sent persuasion advantage, failed to transform accomplishment at the best of the ticket into a blue wave.

It is not that Democrats did not have the means to harness teraflops of surveillance-dependent insights as motives to reject Trumpian allies and enablers. It’s just that purple voters understood what they already realized and all the pejorative pixels, grievance-centered GIFs and haranguing hashtags in the world weren’t heading to inform them in any other case.

Consider that into account and, tempting as it is, you genuinely just can’t blame surveillance capitalism for the roughly 70 % of Republicans who counterfactually insist on #stopthesteal. They’d extended since acquired into Donald Trump’s declare that the only way he could get rid of an election was if it was rigged.

Jef Loeb
New York

To the Editor:

Social media are absolutely free people fork out for them with their personal details. Just as a lot of applications enable people to pay for advertisement-totally free subscriptions, social media should be essential to permit paid out, facts-assortment-absolutely free subscriptions. Whether buyers will locate this attractive, and whether or not they separately truly feel the hurt of present knowledge selection, are open up thoughts. But this could be a element of the solution.

Ron Meyers
New York

To the Editor:

“The Awareness Coup” has vintage grievances about enterprise achievement from engineering. Buyers and other corporations use whatever info they can purchase to do well. And most do that legally. If not, then federal government and the courts ought to stage in. But to limit growth since of measurement and effectiveness is not Americanism but socialism at best and need to be averted.

C.J. Hoppin
Peaks Island, Maine

To the Editor:

Shoshana Zuboff’s examination of the digital conundrum we’re in — surveillance versus democracy — identifies the 9/11 assaults as a pivotal minute when all manner of technological safety was set absolutely free to retain us safe. Sept. 11 turned up the volume on the politics of worry to surveil and keep an eye on not only terrorism, but also crime, drug use and even immigration.

Social handle and routine monitoring by employers of personnel, by moms and dads of youngsters, and by the law enforcement of all people turned institutionalized and even ensconced in well-known lifestyle, ranging from news to videos to songs. The Trump presidency channeled the cascading anxiety with conspiratorial propaganda about rigged elections.

David L. Altheide
Solana Beach, Calif.
The writer is professor emeritus at the Faculty of Social Transformation at Arizona Point out College and the writer of “Terrorism and the Politics of Worry.”

To the Editor:

A single could also argue that info in the fingers of numerous organizations affords better basic safety to the public and civil liberties than its getting just in the arms of the federal government.

Vaidyanathan Ramaswami
Branchburg, N.J.

To the Editor:

Shoshana Zuboff has plainly determined the mechanisms by Facebook, Google and many others that have privatized and monetized human behavior vis-à-vis their social network platforms and supporting algorithms that have damaged our democracy and many others all-around the world.

What is unbelievably ironic is the footnote on the internet at the close of her piece: “Follow The New York Situations Feeling section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.”

Gene Fisch
New York