To help evaluate the impact of social media algorithms on extreme violence, we will try to answer these questions:
- What are the trends in America regarding extreme violence?
- Are individuals engaged in extreme violence influenced by social media?
- How do social media algorithms work, and what is their purpose?
Extreme Violence Increases in America
A serious increase in extreme violence is the conclusion of the May 2021 Strategic Intelligence Assessment and Data on Domestic Terrorism report created by the combined efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security. This report submitted to the Intelligence Committee (IC) of Congress and released to the public summarizes a horrifying reality.
Individuals who are violent domestic extremists (DVEs) and small cells of DVEs are more inclined to engage in violent attacks than any organization. An individual’s radicalization is more likely to come from consuming violent extremist content online than from joining organized groups and participating in person.
Social Media’s Influence
Research supported by the National Institute of Justice concluded that social media influences individuals who participate in extreme violence and hate crimes.
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START, examined social media use by extremists. The study, Social Learning and Social Control in the Off and Online Pathways to Hate and Extremist Violence, focuses on cases after 2007. This era is the time when social media platforms experienced significantly-increased usage.
Here are some of the findings:
- 58% of the DVEs believe radical right-wing ideology
- 40% got motivation by radical Islamic ideology
- 2% had an association with a far-left ideology
Social Media Use
DVEs have social media accounts to connect with like-minded extremists. They use social media to publish their manifestos. Some try to live-stream their attacks until the social media systems take the content down.
- 17.2 % of DVEs use Facebook. This usage is significantly higher than other social media systems.
- 5.7% had Twitter and YouTube accounts.
- More individuals with radical right-wing ideologies use Facebook.
- More Islamic extremists (3.8%) use Twitter than radical-right extremists (1.8%).
- Instagram had the lowest use at 3%.
Social Media Algorithms
An algorithm is an artificial intelligence program that aims to keep the users of social media systems addicted to using the system. They call this “engagement.” These systems value usage over all other concerns because they derive revenues from advertisers based on system usage.
Addictive algorithms push people to harmful content automatically. False, misleading, and sensational content increases use. The algorithms are predatory and serve content related to what you previously reacted with using clickbait techniques. This self-reinforcing feedback loop may cause mental health problems for heavy social media users.
The Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, testified before the UK Parliament. She said that social media platforms, such as Facebook, which use opaque algorithms to spread harmful content, need more scrutiny and regulation. Without these controls, they may trigger increased violent events, such as the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.
Whatever tendencies a person has to participate in extremist violence, social media does little to reduce these factors. The social media algorithms, by their design, encourage more division, reinforce radical beliefs, bring attention to hate crimes, and support political polarization, which has already led to more extreme violence in America. Social media is not the only factor but plays a significant role in increasing extreme violence.
Everyone has a public record, and everyone can have their information looked up by just about anyone in the world. This information is one of the most powerful tools in the world, as data becomes more and more important as the years go on. We’re long removed from the days of people simply having a birth certificate, marriage certificate, deed, and then death certificate.
Now, almost every piece of data regarding your life can be bought online, and there’s more information out there than you might think. This information is also more valuable than you might think, too. What makes this data so important, though? Let’s take a look at the power of modern-day data and what it means for you.
If you’re someone that’s essentially living off of the grid, you don’t have many people that are holding you accountable for your actions in life outside of your potential creditors. However, those that are in positions of power need to be held in check, and having access to their public information is a valuable and powerful tool.
From people that are running for a political position or an executive with a multi-million dollar corporation, there are people that are held to a higher standard. Public information records can let people know if power is being abused, and some very powerful people have gotten backlash due to public information.
Even the President of the United States is not immune to being held accountable from public information. Presidents like Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump have been under investigation due to their public information. If it goes all the way to the top, then you know that type of information is extremely valuable.
The list of companies that want to know everything about you is endless because your public information can alter the way that they market to you and the people in your area. By looking at your public record, companies can get a good idea of how much disposable income you have, your location, and what you’re likely to spend money on.
Even your information that’s not part of the public record can be obtained by companies so that they can market to you on a more specific level. Websites like Facebook track a lot of the information you look up and your personal details, and targeted marketing can be very obvious. Do you own an Amazon Alexa or a similar device and suddenly start seeing advertisements for something that you were talking about that day? It’s not a coincidence.
Your public record can determine whether or not you get the job of your dreams, believe it or not. Upon applying to a company, they’re likely to run a public information check on you to see if everything’s up to par. They’ll check your finances to see if there’s a bankruptcy or default that would result in wage garnishment, and they’re more likely to go with a candidate that won’t have a garnishment.
Also, having poor credit can affect you from getting a job in finance, but the most important thing that can hold you back from a job is a criminal record. Those that have been convicted of violent or financial crimes are less likely to land a job after a public information act. Make sure that your record is squeaky clean before applying for a dream job.
Getting a House
The biggest purchase that you can make in your lifetime is to buy a house, and everything that happens before, during, and after all uses public information. Your public record will show your ability to buy a house and where you’ve lived in the past. If you’ve been renting for several years with no late payments and no defaulted loans, your chances of getting a mortgage are going to be tremendous.
Any transaction that you make on a home will go into the public record, whether you’re buying, selling, or renting. This means that your address can easily be searched, so make sure that you’re comfortable with that when getting a new home. Going back to marketing, have you ever received a ton of junk mail with advertising? That’s part of public information.
We all know that data is essential. It’s the lifeblood of businesses and organizations of all sizes and necessary for making informed decisions. But what many people don’t realize is how much data can help them improve their personal lives.
Here are five ways you can use data to change your life:
Get in shape
There’s no shortage of data when it comes to fitness and health. You can track how many steps you take, how many calories you burn, your heart rate, and a host of other metrics. You can use this data to set and track goals, monitor progress, and adjust your workout routine as needed.
Plenty of apps and devices make it easy to collect this data, but you don’t need any fancy tech to get started. A simple pedometer can help you track your steps, while you can use a notebook to record other data points like calorie intake and weight loss.
Manage your finances
If you’re not using data to manage your finances, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to save money and improve your financial health. There are several ways to do this, but one of the simplest is to track your spending.
You can do this by using a budgeting app or spreadsheet or by writing down your purchases in a notebook. Once you understand where your money is going, you can start making changes to save money.
Enhance your productivity
You can use data to boost your productivity. It will involve tracking how much time you spend on tasks, so you can identify areas where you’re wasting time.
You can also use data to set and track goals. For example, if you’re trying to write a book, you could track how many words you write each day, and it will give you a good idea of your progress and whether you need to change your writing routine.
Improve your relationships
Data can be a valuable tool if you want to improve your relationships. You can track how often you communicate with loved ones to ensure you’re staying in touch as much as you’d like.
You can also identify patterns in your relationships. For example, you might notice that you tend to argue with your partner more often when stressed out at work. In this case, you could try to find ways to reduce your stress levels to avoid future arguments.
Make better decisions
You can do this by collecting data about different options before deciding. For example, if you’re trying to decide which car to buy, you could research the fuel efficiency, safety ratings, and other essential factors.
You can also use data to track your decisions’ outcomes, which can help you learn from your mistakes and make better choices in the future.
Using data to improve your personal life, you can make more informed choices, set and achieve goals, and save money.