Random Ramblings

Warning: You’re Not Crazy; You’ve Been Manipulated. #RadioLab

Have you ever been on social media and thought, “What’s going on with my Facebook feed?” Sometimes the world seems terrible. It’s as if all of your Facebook friends are insensitive and ill-informed. It’s depressing! Other times your feed is filled with inspirational memes, cute photos, and kitten videos. The world seems like a good place to be in after all. What’s going on? How can your feed vary so much? Is it you? Is it your Facebook friends? Maybe it’s something else.

untitled design (4)

Back in 2014, Facebook was the top story of almost every news media organization for “experimenting” on its users. People were shocked and outraged.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Radiolab did a podcast, “The Trust Engineers,” on February 9. 2015.

It turns out that 100% of Facebook users had/have participated in at least one Facebook experiment or study. “When you look at the data, any given person is probably involved in 10 different experiments and have been exposed to 10 different experimental things.” That’s right. Congratulations. If you use Facebook, you’re one of Facebook’s lab rats.

While this may seem like old news, it doesn’t mean that the experiments have stopped. Facebook is a free social media site and those of us who use Facebook are subject to Facebook’s terms and conditions.

If you feel like your emotions are being manipulated by Facebook, what can you do?

  • Limit your time on social media.
  • Know that your media feed can be skewed by algorithms.
  • Switch your Facebook News Feed from “Top Stories” to “Most Recent.”
  • Check your facts before you share a post.
  • And above all, treat everyone with kindness.

Thank you so much to the team at Radiolab for inspiring this post!

Juli Hoffman



9 thoughts on “Warning: You’re Not Crazy; You’ve Been Manipulated. #RadioLab”

  1. I NEVER do those ‘what kind of cat are you” FB posts. I know from my son who works in marketing that the information gathered by your answers go to data scientists who analyze and use the information for various things. I’m not being paranoid. Remember Cambridge Analytica? But I am on FB daily and always remind myself of the ‘gaslighting” potential of some of the posts and of FB in general.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Right! Those posts that encourage you to put up a picture from 10 years ago and one from today are actually there to fine tune their facial recognition software.

      I don’t HATE Facebook. I’m on there almost every day. My friends are on there. My family is on there. It’s on of the ways I stay connected with them. But I also think it’s important to KNOW, like any other tool, WHAT you’re using. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So that’s why they’re doing the picture with the 10 years ago thing. I was wondering what was going on about that. I agree that knowing what is happening is key. The other day I compared the Top Stories to Most Recent, and it’s amazing how different the experience is!


        1. On the one hand, thanks to facial recognition software, thousands of formerly abducted children (worldwide) have been found and reunited with their families, which is good. I just wish there was more transparency happening.

          I’m glad switching news feeds on FB has helped! 😀


  2. This is alarming. I’m glad you wrote this. I also appreciate that you added things to do in order to combat this manipulation. Too many times people point out a problem without giving something to solve it.


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