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We'll Tell You What's Trending

Updated on May 9, 2016
RJ Schwartz profile image

When he's not writing poetry or political articles, Ralph fills his time by researching various topics that are influencing society today.

Most social media sites and on-line news portals have a “trending” section, which lists the topics people are talking about on-line at any given moment. These sections are some of the most influential areas of many sites as they serve to inform people of current news stories, world events, or happenings with people. On major sites such as Facebook or Twitter, these sections tend to drive trends across the entire internet as users are highly likely to initiate searches on the trending topics which drive up the page views of the source material. A professional e-marketer would fall over them in order to tap into such a powerful tool; one that in a few keystrokes could turn a large portion of the internet audience in a specific direction. If an individual or group of individuals had the power to use this tool as a way of influence peddling or influence blocking, the ramifications would be unmeasurable.

Conspiracy?

It has been a topic of concern for some time as to whether this was actually happening, or it was just another conspiracy theory circulated on the web by disgruntled people. When users of popular social media sites logged-on, they must have believed that what they were reading was true and that the trending topics were actually trending. I guess the assumed that web traffic was monitored and keyword searches analyzed to generate these lists, which were similar to the billboard top 40 chart. Many must have assumed they were accurate and fact based, because they were so rarely questioned; that was until recent events have been exposed which demonstrate they are nothing but a hoax. The wealth of data the top social media sites have at their fingertips is proverbial “money in the bank” and they are mining that bank for what gives them the best return, not their users. Careful manipulation of the trending list is just another tool, like tweaking news feeds and selectively placing advertisements that allow these behemoths to mold and shape the emotional and physical actions of their users.

Marketer's Dream

Now most professional marketers are comfortable with using hard earned data to drive sales on their products; it is what they get paid to do. But when social media becomes social engineering, questions start to emerge about where the line is and what right people have to cross it. Former Facebook workers are in the news cycle admitting that they routinely suppressed news stories that favored the beliefs and interests of conservative users; preventing positive stories about Republican candidates from a spot on the trending list, when they were actually trending stories. They also told about how non-trending stories were injected into the trending feeds to drive a particular narrative. Those who are fortunate enough to understand how the web algorithms work will realize that “what’s trending” gets mixed into everyone’s news feed and anything that is “blacklisted” gets removed; sounds more and more like a conspiracy to control information the longer it’s reviewed.

Lois Lerner - Taking the 5th to avoid prosecution
Lois Lerner - Taking the 5th to avoid prosecution

Control the News and Control the Youth

Looking back over time, especially now that we are in full-blown political season, it’s not only prudent to review the stories everyone heard about, but also to understand how this practice was engaged to make them rise or fall. Remember the IRS scandal with Lois Lerner, how about the death of four Americans in Benghazi, and currently the Hillary Clinton E-mail. They were all three major events in American politics but were pushed down by social media in favor of their version of trending stories; Bruce Jenner wearing a dress, anything even remotely wrong a Republican did, or anything that is pro-gay marriage. If enough people see trending issues as real news, it will become real news whether real or not. The same goes the other way, if social media makes something as damaging as dead Americans seem like no big deal, then many will step and agree it was no big deal. Twitter is also guilty of the same tactics and I’m sure most other sites are as well.

Edward Bernays - the father of modern propaganda
Edward Bernays - the father of modern propaganda | Source

Get Out While You Still Can

It’s simple manipulation of the youth that is being employed by these media giants, which are run by very Liberal people. Tell the youth that Black Lives Matter and they’ll lie down in front of a train to get the message out. Tell them there is no immigration or refugee crisis and open borders are good for everyone and they become almost militant in giving away their future for this futile platform. Blame a single event of violence on the Confederate Flag and they’ll rise up like the good little robots they are becoming to demand it be made illegal; ask them what it really stood for and you’ll most likely get a hollow stare in return. Yes, the social engineering or our youth is being furthered quicker than once thought possible by the influence peddlers at the social media sites. Edward Bernays would be salivating at the thought of such control and without much effort. If this isn’t enough to convince everyone to disconnect from social media, then I’m not sure what will ever be.

Comments

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  • jackclee lm profile image

    Jack Lee 

    2 years ago from Yorktown NY

    Here is AI algorithm used at FB:

    If (news source = liberal ) GOTO top of trend stack ELSE

    If (news source = conservative) OR

    If (news = FB in a negative way) GOTO discard ELSE

    LGBT story OR Hillary Clinton always trend...

  • Carolyn M Fields profile image

    Carolyn Fields 

    2 years ago from South Dakota, USA

    Great topic. Interestingly, I never paid any attention to the "What's Trending" area before the story broke. I prefer, instead, to just read the newsfeed from my few, carefully selected, friends. Time will tell if Facebook will actually change anything at all based on the story. I am not holding my breath.

  • RJ Schwartz profile imageAUTHOR

    Ralph Schwartz 

    2 years ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Agreed - I wanted to get the conversation started before some of the heavier topics

  • jackclee lm profile image

    Jack Lee 

    2 years ago from Yorktown NY

    Great hub, I would have written something similar. Don't kid yourself, facebook is not the only offender here. There are many liberal progressive companies especially in silicon valley who are trying to affect our culture including google, Apple, and starbucks and target and yahoo...

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