Like it or not, Facebook is a mirror of your mind!

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018
like it or not, facebook is a mirror of your mind!

In the pre-social media era, only a group of close relatives and friends would know about a person's likes and dislikes. And there would be some secrets that one would keep strictly to oneself.
But the Internet, especially the social media platforms, have changed how and with whom a person shares the socio-psycho-economic details of his life.

From the colour you like, to the content you read or watch; from the new phone to the new book you have bought; from your favourite holiday places to your close friends-- everything that used to be private and personal is now public, thanks mainly to the Facebook, which is currently in the eye of a storm over allegations of a massive data breach.  

At the heart of the scandal is Cambridge Analytica, a UK -based political consulting firm which undertook an ambitious data-gathering program that included tapping into the Facebook profiles of 50 million American voters with a view to better target them with customized political messaging.

Psychographic profiling -- which Cambridge Analytica,  is accused of -- is a complete profile of a person constructed on the basis of his likes, dislikes, interest, opinion, attitudes 

The data collected included names, hometown dates of birth, religion, work and educational background and, more importantly preferences, as expressed in their Facebook 'likes' on news stories and other online posts.

So, is it possible to understand your psychology, your emotions through your Facebook account?  

Psychiatrists say, yes.

If an expert carefully analyses your social media posts over a time, he can decode your 'core' personality. And by doing so, he exactly knows how to manipulate your thinking.

Your 'likes' on the social media have so far been largely used by marketing agencies to identify you as a target consumer. That's why you keep getting pop-ups of the products similar to the one you have once browsed. 

Psychographic profiling -- which Cambridge Analytica,  is accused of -- digs deeper than this. It is a complete profile of a person constructed on the basis of his likes, dislikes, interest, opinion, attitudes. These profiles when multiplied in millions, can reveal a lot of information about a group, race, religion, population, say experts.

So, knowingly and unknowingly, you reveal a lot about yourself. The data derived from what people share on the social media, when aggregated, can be used to do some useful social research. But it can also be used in a destructive way.

"By knowing your pschographic profile, one can feed your subconscious mind subtly, which can change your thinking at a micro level and manipulate your macro decisions without you realising it," says says Dr Deepak Raheja, a noted psychiatrist.

What's making people more vulnerable to being emotionally manipulated is the fact that more and more people are losing connect with their surroundings. "Seventy percent people are busy peering at their mobile screens, clicking pictures, checking their social media accounts, updating their status. And in the process, they forget to enjoy the present precious moments, the life around them," says Raheja.

"When an analyser extrapolates data derived from millions of people, he gets a huge potpourri. This data can be used to design cues to manipulate the market. It can also be used to manipulate people’s opinion," says Dr Kersi Chavda, consultant psychiatrist, P D Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai.

"A lot of people might not consider it a real threat, but the truth is when you share information about yourself, your travel plans, you are giving away your whereabouts," says Chavda.

Since the Internet has become an integral part of people's lives, there is no getting away from it. But experts say, people should become more careful about what they share on the social media. "By using strict privacy settings and by limiting your use, one can minimise the threat of personal information being misused," says Chavda. 


 

Comment

Very informative.

Tariq Bhat    2018/03/25 05:03:24

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