The psychological ramifications of the current Internet

I’ve been using the World Wide Web since around 1994. I would say in the period from 1994 until 2012 I was learning new information on a daily basis online. The Internet was intellectually stimulating me during this time period.

Starting around 2013 something began changing. I increasingly was somehow running into the same information over and over again. At first I didn’t even notice it, I didn’t even start to realize this until 2015. By 2016 I knew something was wrong but I hadn’t get figured out what.

It’s now 2019. I took Windows 10 off my computer and installed a version of Linux that I consider to be pretty secure. I installed lots of browser plug ins that disable my web traffic from being monitored or tracked. I got off of Facebook and Google.

The result? I’m seeing a whole new Internet again. I’m learning again. After years of running into the same information over and over again I’m finding new challenging data. So what happened?

Algorithms. Quietly in the background Facebook, Google and god only knows who else, have been laying a framework that you can’t see that monitors your web activity, processes it and then very insidiously leads you down a trail based on some logic only known to the silicon valley elite. The result of this is that you end up feeling increasingly justified in your opinions on things, you see less and less information that challenges your world view and you feel more and more like you already have come across all the data that there is for your mind to process on pretty much every topic that interests you.

More than this though you somehow end up in chat rooms and Internet forums full of people with the same perspective as you that creates the now well known echo chamber effect of groupthink which can lead to some totally psychotic real world behaviors. People are now hanging out online with people all over the world with the same way of thinking as them, and this was never possible in the world before the Internet and these echo chambers create subcultures that would otherwise never have existed if you had to actually walk outside and meet at a potluck with your neighbors.

So people are increasingly divorced from the perspective of those in close physical proximity to them and connected to some warped world view that should never have existed in the natural world and is probably very distorted in many ways.

The result is the world of bizarre politics that we see today. Yes, the Internet is making people lose the ability to communicate with their neighbors and may actually be driving people insane. Humans were never meant to be connected to a global hive mind 24/7, we simply didn’t evolve like this and this is a very recent development. Perhaps in the long run this will all balance out and will cause humans to evolve into a new place but for now what we have is the currently established political systems and governments of the world being strangely warped by technology that is both far ahead of them evolutionarily and able to exert considerable influence on them and the result is that these things are no longer functioning at all in any way as intended and things are getting really, really weird.

Weird and scary really. Violence is breaking out over things that seem to me to be downright irrational and bizarre. In fact people can’t even seem to agree on the definition of some basic things anymore such as what qualifies as scientific data. This is very problematic and the problems that result from it will only continue to be highlighted in the news as time goes on.

Of course we aren’t even capable of agreeing on what the news is at this point as all these different subcultures continue to disagree with eachother about the nature of reality and what events are real and what events are entirely made up by the Internet communities themselves.

Things are getting really, really strange and I don’t know where this is going. But I do know what started it. Tracking cookies and algorithms were invented to sell products. The free services that we take for granted on the Internet such as Facebook, Twitter and Gmail are not truly free, because nothing is. Someone has to write the paychecks for the developers of this technology and pay the fees involved with keeping millions of Internet servers and their air conditioning on 24/7/365 and these fees and paychecks are paid by the Internet equivalent of commercials. Yes, your Internet activity is tracked and to a certain extent influenced in order to get you to buy things. And a percentage of what you are buying is paying for all these free services that you take for granted. And it’s a result of this underlying capitalist system that led us to the battleground we call reality in 2019.

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Can anything be done about this? Yes. But the cost is high. The cost is the loss of all the free Internet services or possibly the Internet as we know it altogether. I don’t think it will go this way, I don’t think humanity will ever collectively make the decision to forgo all of their free Internet services in order to save it’s self from insanity but if everyone did what I did and got off all the free services and installed Linux on their computers then all of this would abruptly halt. Your psychology would no longer be for sale to the highest bidder and the worldwide real time demographics monitoring apparatus that is Facebook would stop functioning. Whoever may or may not be using that apparatus for whatever reason would be S.O.L..

But I would be dreaming if I imagined that people will sudden put down their smart phones and stop using Gmail, Twitter and Facebook. These services are all admittedly designed to addict everyone, basic human psychology applies to all humans. So in reality what will happen is this: a very small percentage of people will already be aware of what I am saying or will be woken up by this article and will either get off electronics altogether or take the steps that I took and they will effectively fall off the electronic map and see what is really going on. Everyone else will continue to yell into their echo chamber what they already think is real and continue to feel more in more justified in vilifying everyone whose perspective doesn’t line up with theirs. And so we will see more and more battles break out IRL between flash mobs of opposing perspectives. And blood will be shed.

World War 3 may well end up being a multipronged global civil war between White Supremacists, Anarchists and Communists, fought with guns.

On last thing: People may have a word to say about the Old Media. Television, at some point, ceased to influence the Internet. Some inversion happened and now everything being talked about on TV is, in point of fact, in response to things being discussed online. Certain parties are very bitter about this fact but it’s just the truth.

It's neural networks, fun thing about those is NOBODY knows the logic, it's a giant math formula built and adjusted on terabytes of data you feed it. The goal is to not make you dumb but to maximize retention and making you dumb is a side effect.
Sounds good, acceleration gang assemble

I know everyone's seen 'All watched over by machines of loving grace', but did you read the supporting texts?
- Humdog 1994

By applying a Marxist analysis, Humdog was able to 100% get to the root of what the tech companies were actually doing in 1994. Long before Google really cracked surveillance capitalism, and something journalists and policy makers are struggling with to this day.

It sounds like a pure simulacrum.
The algorithms spin people round in a feed-back loop of "engagement" until though a process of lossy copying, nothing of the original survives, and in fact originally itself dissolves. Reality itself becomes suspicious, because it lacks the now expected quality of the artificial.

Like how you can write non-random data into a pool of entropy, and not decrease the entropy.
Feeding new real-world information into Zig Forums does nothing to move the consensus towards reality. The simulacrum has precedence and a life of its own, and events are expect to fit.

OP here. I'm not the original author by the way, source's here:

While I saw a few problems in the text (we *do* know the logic behind the algorithms, and technology isn't something inherently bad, it's neutral in-itself), I thought it was a nice text to share anyway.


Didn't know that text, thanks for sharing.

A signifier-machine that hides the Real by constantly and quickly covering it. Lacan would be astonished.

Good post OP.
This won't happen unless we're technologically modified (genetically or by brain implants etc). Being social is ingrained in pretty much all animals.

That we can't have internet services without advertising is a myth. We already know that we can because they existed prior to those commercial services.
People have either forgotten, or they never knew, and accurate history is inaccessible to them.
The early internet that grew out of academia was pretty socialist, certainly non-commercial, even in an environment where resources were vastly more expensive. Maybe it could be again.

It might be hard to build a youtube clone, but do we actually want youtube?
Unless youtube exactly in its current form is what won out in the marketplace because of its supreme merit. But we all know that's not true.

That which appears is good, that which is good appears. We'd have to break this cycle and actually create an alternative vision. Otherwise everyone ends up trying to copy facebook and twitter without understanding that the website is only the visible perceivable aspect of capital protruding into their lives.

And by that I mean Californian liberals are constantly trying to build alternatives, but they always fall into the same trap because they're mired in liberal ideology.

"Privacy" or "freedom" just become selling points for their commodities, whereas the solution is beyond the commodity form all together.

What I don't understand is how they use the information they get on you. Is it all to keep the capitalist machine running and making you continue watching the spectacle or is it some fucking conspiracy shit for even worse things?

What's this new challenging data? I wonder whanever I read smooth brain content or galaxy brain content. I too uninstalled windows, no longer use google, never used social media (Instragram is unironically for "NPC")

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With enough info on your habits they can probably control your thought patterns to a certain extent, or if not you, then a majority of the other people who are exposed to the algorithm's actions.
However the highest bidder(s) (advertisers, political groups, special interests) want, or however the owner of the algorithms (i.e. Facebook, Google, Amazon) wants.

Did you know that in 2012 Facebook ran an experiment on almost 700,000 users to try and manipulate their emotions, and succeeded?
In 2010 Facebook was able to get 60,000 users to vote just by displaying a certain banner on the site to them.

So simple, manual experiments like that were enough to achieve real-world outcomes and changes in attitude in tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of people.
Now imagine what much more advanced deep-learning algorithms can do to you without you even realizing.

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My biggest concern is how people truly are fucking retarded enough to be part of the botnet and not wonder one fucking time why do these companies offer these services for free

The first step to ending an addiction is recognizing there is a problem.
Most people you talk to about these things will recognize there is a problem with these platforms, but there are a range of excuses for using them they'll offer up.
In capitalist society those who already have more capital will have an easier time growing their capital.
So these platforms are going to be a step or two ahead of alternatives who don't sell their soul for profit.
How do you get around that, really?

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It's fucking insanely hard, for example consider switching from M$ Office (With Botnet ofc) to Libreoffice, it doesn't have all the features you might need depending on what you do, but the worst part is how fucking incompatible it can be when you have to work with others, and then how it's impossible for porky companies to switch softwares and make their employees learn the new tools (because it doesn't offer max profit$) just to say fuck you to micro$oft.

Just deleted my Facebook.

We're left wing. We have to do better than "everyone is fucking retarded".
Consider the pressure people are under to rationalize their lives and make them more profit producing. Why wouldn't they use these useful "free" tools, or use them to entertain (distract) their kids.

We are in a unique position in history. Marx was able to observe the birth of industrialization first hand.
We were able to observe the birth of the information age (along with surveillance capitalism) first hand. Nobody else will. The botnet will never be similar than it was in the late 90s/ early 2000s. It will only get more obscure, opaque, and entwined with state power from now on.

We're up to 7040 companies in martech 2019, and growing.
This is what we're actually up against. The smartest people of our generation are working on one thing. To get some kid to click ads or buy digital shit with his mums credit card.


Coincidence that people felt the internet "went to shit" in 2007?

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At this point I've been using it so long I don't much care. if they wanted to have dirt on me they already got it and its too late to change that now unless someone has a nervous breakdown and wipes their servers.

I never used facebook or any real social media ever so that's good.

It's not about you. It's the systemic problems caused by having monopolies that would have been broken up already in another era, the unique problems caused by information processing at scale simply not possible in the 20th century, and the creeping neoliberal influence of their algorithms into functions of government.

Google are buying our health data. There is simply no way anybody consented to that.
Facebook literally has a war room of detecting and fucking up anything in the "social space" by any means necessary. If you started a niche social network site with 1k users, you'd be on their radar and the target of their highly anti-competitive tactics.

Brainlet, "I have nothing to hide" is false, everyone has something to hide, no one wants to be seen fucking, jerking off, eating, do you leave the curtains of your house open? Do you give your password to people you don't know?

I know that calling people stupid/retarded doesn't help but they act like that. For some of us its hard to organize when you are busy with shit like school or work constantly and in right wing places where no one takes you seriously.

At this point they already have it, I'm not a hacker nor a rich person with money to spend on a lawyer; I can't get them to delete the information they have.
Get off your high horse kid.

I am aware, just pointing out that in my personal case switching from google to something else is pointless. Even if I were to completely overhaul all my systems and passwords and all that other shit, they already have information for the past years of my life and that's plenty already. Most of it isn't even important.

Yes I know, but there are always tricks to get around that.
The idea of me (personally) starting up a niche social network is laughable.

Look bud, I'm not denying the issues at hand, far from it, I was just commenting on how I personally (and likely many others) are so deep in this shit that changing it will be hard and pointless.

Well it's your choice but you know you are a defeatist.

The other user said this isn't about you, but the truth is that it both is and isn't, if we're talking about the overall effect this has on society then yes it's not about you.
If we're talking about how they use this data you feed them constantly to manipulate your emotions and thoughts, then it is very much about you as an individual and working to unchain your mind from their manipulation.
At the least, be aware of what they're trying to do to you.

Agreed, you really can't "fight" on your own, you can avoid it with other software and have to spread the word, if they don't listen to you then they never had the mindset to look for a change in the first place.

That wasn't always the case. The 90s internet was run by literal kids running boards, forums, chatrooms. I knew a collage student ran an MMORPG off his campus network.

Isn't it sad that what actually happened has been rendered unimaginable.

This is history repeating itself. The cottage industries couldn't compete with the capitalist factories. Soon factories is all there was, and people could hardly dream of the countryside and fresh air.

It would be great if some user did a guide to navigate through the internet being free of the botnet. Like, what linux distro would he recommend, tips and that stuff. Some of us are actual brainlets who don't understand shit

Go to the installgentoo wiki. I'm barely starting but use a Debian based distro for your first experiencie, be careful with Linux Mint since it's known to be easily backdoored. Ubuntu MIGHT be botnet but no one knows really, probably not but keep that in mind. Use Firefox and check the wiki for extensions, go to

I need windows for work (office and gmail are both required), is it okay if I just have 2 OS in my pc and I use windows just for banal job stuff?
thanks for the link

I'd write that guide. The only problem is power has shifted up a layer, and I don't think we now have enough control in 2019 to make a meaningful difference.
It's still good to use Linux, and absolutely catastrophic to use Windows 10, however using Linux doesn't get you very far because everything went SaaS.

Streaming services collect everything. They know when you pause the video to take a piss. This level of tracking was unacceptable, and now it's the new normal.
There are no dumb file stores. Everything is scanned, catalogued, even modified with tracking tags. You repost an image from facebook on a different site, and they'll index it. Cross-reference it with your facebook account.
Subscription software like photoshop is logging everything you do.
The GDPR mostly presents itself to people as an annoying box that you have to agree to get it to piss off.
Google CAPTCHA is especially nasty. You can't block it completely otherwise you're denied access. It steals your labor, and it punishes you proportional to your privacy measures. If you use Firefox with all the anti-fingerprinting features switch on, it will hammer you with the hardest ones, and still deny access.
At least it's still possible to access youtube in privacy conscious way using youtube-dl. Hide and ignore anything a tech company recommends. Algorithmic recommendations are for tards, and it encourages your to seek out human recommendations which are far more likely to be out of left field.

Knowing how everything works doesn't help like it used to. Soon you won't be able to access any services in a privacy conscious way. I've almost had it with tech. If anonymous image boards didn't exist, I'd probably throw away my computer and find something else to do.

Don't dual boot unless you really know what you are doing, if you want both then install a Virtual Machine in your Linux distro and use Windows shit from there, just make sure your computer can support emulating another system, I'd go for Windows 7 since 10 is full of the telemetry shit, I mean you can install the W10 Pro Iso from /g/ and modify it but it's your choice.

You can also use Wine or Proton to run Windows shit on your computer but not everything will be available and some things might be buggy. Don't forget to NOT install any software shit from the internet, get everything from the package manager. Again start with a Debian system, It has the most users and more software support. Stuff like Fedora and Arch are good too but you know to know your shit a bit more, this is why Manjaro is popular but still. I'm running Xubuntu since my PC is kind of weak.

I remember when I used to browse my tablet before bed a few years ago, now I don't even dare to do that cause that shit is a fucking portable tracker. At least i'm reading more.

No one cares if companies have their data. They already get adds.

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I’m describing the rational behind people who use Google Chrome.

If it wasn't for ad purpose it would be for lust of power these algorithms would be used. So no, you can't get rid of this neural networks. Never you'll see someone refuse to have more power. Neural networks are the closest to god the concept of God, except its man made you can actually use it.
Article about how bosses spy on their workers

I don't know much about any of this. I never got connected to social media in the first place, saw how terrible it was as a medium for communication and how sites like reddit could be easily gamed by algorithms to control the flow of information. What I'm wondering is where forums went, there used to be tons of shitty phpbb boards out there and now there's nothing with very much presence beyond some gaming websites.

I lived under a rock from 2007 to about 2016 and basically stopped caring about life. I'm not too surprised that universities went towards extreme thought policing, should be obvious to anyone who isn't in the education bubble and all the indoctrination that goes with it.
I don't think it's the algorithms that are the problem, but that successive generations of this education system have produced a population of mindless followers and elevated a group of craven thugs to social heights that wouldn't be otherwise possible. The schools we learn in prioritize the worst traits in people imaginable, actually stunt the ability to learn (this is demonstrable just by looking at the ass-backwards way any subject is taught to grade school children; any child that did not have access to learning materials to do it the right way would never be able to learn how to read, write and do basic arithmetic with the methods schools use to teach children today, and this is consciously pursued so that entrenched social distinctions are intensified and humanity is sorted, permanently, into grades which would be in due time granted specific legal rights or penalties based on their rank.

Forums got chipped away by social media and imageboards, now those are getting chipped away by like, Dis/cord for some reason.

First of all, fuck you OP.
I was expecting that QR code to do some cool shit and it did absolutely nothing.

Secondly, I have been off facebook for about a month now. Got a computer again and started using tools like tor, i2p, freenet, ect ect ect and, honestly, it feels a lot better.

I even made a minds; I get what you are saying, I feel it. the insanity of everyday life.

I am thinking about just getting rid of my phone all together and just getting a house phone, honestly. I still have my twitter, though. But it's connected to my pseudo-anonymous id. I maily use it for news in the morning.

I can decide if I want to drop off the clear net completely or live a type of split life where I interact with all my normie friends on my cell phone; Facebook, google, etc etc. (Knowing there is no way to truly anonymize a cell phone.)

Or drop off totally and only use the internet on my computer: Tor, VPN, i2p, ect ect ect.

On my PC I barley use any clearnet traffic at all, tbh.

I had to turn on http.referheaders for firefox though to use Zig Forums.

Not super happy about that, but, I guess it's only used to follow you with in the site itself. Also, I have Riseup and all that; linuxmint, etc etc.

Good luck out there OP. Live long and prosper~

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Holy fuck, lmao. These faggots really think using a MAC is edgy.

It is edgy can't you see?
Thanks to Apple, 1984 wasn't like Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Big brother BTFO

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I forgot about that shit

At least you can still distinguish between them. Most people call everything social media now. Literally everything on the internet that allows communication.

I think this revisionism comes from every site being forced to adopt "social" features or die, as the rate of ad profits sharply declined.
If you watched this process unfold, it's clear that there was a time before we even had a term for "social media", however everything is converging on the most profitable form, hence they all end up looking the same.
Mobiles apps even more so because there's only so many ways to fit information on a tiny screen.

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How many of you are sourcing your information about world events from Facebook or simple google searches? I thought it was pretty well known that you will only get liberal drivel from that shit (which can be insightful for different reasons)? If you are creeped out by someone collecting your data, I get the concern. But if you are worried about being brain washed, I worry about your ability to critically examine information, especially from a “left” or ML perspective. I’ve never really done the social media thing, and I don’t mindlessly click on recommended shit unless it’s music, so I can’t really empathize. Certainly the systemic implications are a bigger issue.

To everyone ITT saying that they'll continue to use Google because they're already too deep in it, check this out:
Basically, regardless of what Google has or doesn't have on you, they're still directing you to click the results they want you to click. That alone was reason enough to make me switch.

what if we develop class consciousness and reject the porky solutions?

The fediverse is probably the largest single break from porky social media.
However most people didn't switch because they developed class consciousness, but because they were ejected because their interests chaffed with the interests of advertisers. For example erotic art, some LGBT groups. (Or because they're a bunch of god damn Nazis).

Again, I would like to know if people here are really just mindlessly clicking on links and uncritically digesting information from those sites .
I'm not saying don't protect your privacy, please do, but I haven't seen an issue here that has direct consequences for an individual that wouldn't be addressed just as well with a critical lens.

The Great Individual does not need to be "mindless" for manipulation to be effective. You are not immune to propaganda. For example in a leaked video an austrian politician was talking about how if they take over some news outlet they would not poll 28, but 34 percent or so. This is real material impact, the distributions are what matter, in the individual that becomes the probability but it doesn’t matter.

What about the people who are dying of preventable diseases because anti-vax went mainstream?
Before social media, this misinformation and propaganda was contained to email chains.
Today it's spreading into the now subordinate news media, as journalists have been reduced to reporting on the fake reality of the twitter universe.

The boomers are lose on the mother fucking internet! Not clicking on things does not help with this.

This doesn't address what I said. As I said above, of course the systemic impact is a huge concern. But a few privacy conscious individuals aren't going to do much to prevent it. I agree that I am not immune to propaganda. Of course not clicking on things does nothing to fight porky. I would also add that simply protecting your privacy online also does not make one immune to propaganda and does not effectively fight porky.