This post came about because of an experience doing research this week. What came of it caused me to rethink the value of researching anything on the internet…This discussion is not really relevant with about 90% of the online information. But if it is a topic, such as diet and physical health, mental health, or other now politicized information, the individual who uses the internet needs to be careful. Read in the information, take it with a grain of salt, do your due diligence, and follow your gut instincts. Not what you are being led to believe. Your instincts are usually right.
In a world that now seems long, long ago and far, far away, there lived volumes of paper on shelves in something called a library. If anything was to be discovered, a human being had to pick out books through a card catalog, check out a book or three, and scour the contents to find out information.
Enter the age of the internet…
Using a very simple search bar system, the card catalog became an electronic catalog. By choosing a few words or phrases, research became easy and quick. The information had, for the most part, been transferred from paper to bits and bytes. And if a particular topic was being researched, it was not difficult to find the information online.
But a disturbing trend has emerged as time has gone on. Now it is not so easy to determine what is real, or what is artificial anymore…
So the question must be asked…is it real, or is it computer generated? In other words, there has always been disinformation in the world, even without computers. But now it is easier than ever to fool an entire generation of human beings who have become dependent on computers for their fact finding missions.
A computer programmer showed the evolution of the internet search engine. Back when the internet became widely available, the search engine operated on a very simple system. If you typed something in, it matched it searched for taglines associated with the posting.
The problems came up when nefarious and immoral characters very quickly figured out how to circumvent the system and deliver pornography to unsuspecting individuals using false tags. Something had to be done. There were no filters only a few decades ago, and it was easy to click on a site innocently, only to find oneself faced with lude videos or photographs.
Enter the savior…
In an attempt to curb the less-than-optimal sites from becoming mainstream, a new form of algorithm had to be generated. Something that would be safer and less…surprising.
The system began to move very rapidly to a new method of tagline and search capability. No longer was posting information easy, an entire sector of computer business emerged just to create visibility of someone’s site to the masses. The “click to view” ads became more prevalent as corporations began to realize a new source of income. Whenever someone clicked on their headline that they paid to be at the top of the search list, the more they regained their expenses when unsuspecting people clicked on the headline.
Back then, they weren’t necessarily posted as “paid advertising”.
Suddenly, the pornography industry wasn’t able to capture their audience – especially the young – quite so easily.
But it didn’t stop there…
It still wasn’t safe. Newer method came into existence. The ability to filter content and set restrictions was set in place just a few years back.
Yea us! We could now restrict viewing bad things!
But, something else was going on. We also could no longer just type in key words and find what we were looking for so easily. Knowing how something is set up to find in the internet is like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Enter the dominant search engines…
The internet no longer was a place of freedom to post and search. Key words became “SEO”s (Search engine optimizations, “PPC”s (Pay-per-click), and “SEM”s (Search engine marketing).
In other words, what was once a simple process has now become a multi-billion dollar industry. Corporate entities have created an environment where it has become more difficult to enter into the sphere of visibility.
And, for the most part, everything is now run through one giant mega corporation and search system. Competition is essentially being eliminated.
But it doesn’t stop there…
As I was doing research the other day, I began to see a disturbing trend. Suddenly I began to question what I was finding.
Over the past couple of years, many of us have noticed that what we were trying to find was no longer on the internet. Narratives concerning certain subjects were not only becoming very narrow and limited, but what we were specifically looking for had seemed to have vanished.
Then, something else was happening. The videos that were watched began to have content that didn’t seem accurate. And the search engines began to spit out the same titles page after page.
The more supposedly safe browsers used, the more limited the results. It appeared that the large search engine company had begun to lock down information and made it available only on approved avenues of distribution.
But wait, there’s more…
Content was becoming odd as well. Posts, Pintrest posts, Instagram feeds, YouTube videos, Fact Checks, WordPress posts…every avenue of routine content development was taking on a strange form. What was being viewed was no longer necessarily true. Content on the internet was being narrowed down to only specific ideologies and directions.
When the political wars became to start in earnest in various countries around the world, the internet became the launching pad for new campaigns and ideologies. The goal was to flood the internet with content supporting only one view. And in some countries, restrict or eliminate the flow of opposing content to keep the people ignorant of views beyond their own intellectual walls. Keeping a populace from discovering that there are other opinions and ideas beyond their world enables governing bodies to entrap the unsuspecting.
What you don’t know, you don’t know. And you will never change anything, including your mind, if you don’t know otherwise.
Enter the elephant…
But what concerned me the most was that content was taking on a totally new and very subtle look and feel. It was almost unreal.
Turns out, I was not far off.
The browser of choice was supposed to be “safe and secure”. But just a few months ago, there appeared a computer generated piece of information at the top of my search. A summation of what I was supposedly looking for.
Only something was terribly amiss. The very thing I was looking for was missing in the summary…
To be continued in part two…