HART: With ‘friends’ like Facebook….

Published: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 04:46 PM.

Facebook has endured. I thought the social networking phenomenon would have slowed down after everyone got to look at that sandwich I had for lunch or the family pictures from Dollywood I posted last year. But I was wrong. Perhaps I will post pictures from my upcoming trip to Euro-Dollywood, which I think is in Louisiana .

Facebook is more compelling than intrusive — so far. It gives everyone another chance to sleep with that person he or she knew in high school. How did we survive for so many years without it, not knowing who was feeling “truly blessed” each day, and why?

But now there are revelations that Facebook has been monkeying with us. We are the monkeys in their psychological experiments (on 700,000 unwitting users) about whether positive or negative things posted on the site evoke certain emotions. Like the Edward Snowden news, the U.S. media did not find out about these “mood manipulation” studies, nor did our government. The Financial Times in Europe broke the story.

The European authorities who discovered the experiment said they could levy a fine of up to 500,000 pounds on Facebook. With a market capitalization of $170 billion, Facebook responded, “500k pounds? That’s adorable.”

Privacy has somehow become an antiquated notion. Facebook and the Internet have ushered in an age George Orwell warned us of in 1984. We are willing, even anxious, to put things our parents’ generation would never tell anyone right on our Facebook page for all the world to see.

Technology is marvelous, but it can be used for good or bad. Here in Florida , members of Phi Kappa Alpha fraternity were busted for posting naked pictures of co-eds on Facebook. Back in my day, we had to take a Polaroid picture of our naked girls, shake it for 10 seconds, then show it to our buddies one at a time. It was labor intensive.

Facebook has even become an important conduit for political actions. It hastened the Arab Spring. Obama used it well to spin his weak campaign message. Liberals love Facebook; they use social media to manipulate people of unreasoned emotions to vote for Democrats. They kill the GOP in this Svengali area. I think Romney’s campaign only had a MySpace page.



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