"Who exactly are the attention merchants? As an industry, they are relativelynew. Their lineage can be traced to the nineteenth century, when in New YorkCity the first newspapers fully dependent on advertising were created; and Paris,where a dazzling new kind of commercial art first seized the eyes of the person inthe street. But the full potential of the business model by which attention isconverted into revenue would not be fully understood until the early twentiethcentury, when the power of mass attention was discovered not by any commercialentity but by British war propagandists. The disastrous consequences ofpropaganda in two world wars would taint the subsequent use of such methods bygovernment, at least in the West. Industry, however, took note of what captiveattention could accomplish, and since that time has treated it as a preciousresource, paying ever larger premiums for it."
"(...) McLuhan understood that whenever a new medium comes along, people naturally get caught up in the information—the “content”—it carries. They care about the news in the newspaper, the music on the radio, the shows on the TV, the words spoken by the person on the far end of the phone line. The technology of the medium, however astonishing it may be, disappears behind whatever flows through it—facts, entertainment, instruction, conversation. When people start debating (as they always do) whether the medium’s effects are good or bad, it’s the content they wrestle over. Enthusiasts celebrate it; skeptics decry it.(...)"
Facebook’s single-minded focus on accuracy developed after sustaining years of criticism over its handling of moderation issues. With billions of new posts arriving each day, Facebook feels pressure on all sides.
A growing literature is emerging on the believability and spread of disinformation, such as fake news, over social networks. However, little is known about the degree to which malicious actors can use social media to covertly affect behavior with disinformation. A lab-based randomized controlled experiment was conducted with 233 undergraduate students to investigate the behavioral effects of fake news. It was found that even short (under 5-min) exposure to fake news was able to significantly modify the unconscious behavior of individuals.
"Images are meant for people to orient themselves in the world. But when they become very strong, people use their experience in the world to orient themselves in the image. The image becomes the concrete reality, and the world is only a pretext."