Opinion: Is it time to delete social media apps?

Emily Tessmer, Editor

After avoiding the Social Dilemma on Netflix, I finally decided to watch, and what I found confirmed my darkest fears: We are being unknowingly controlled by algorithms designed to manipulate and divide, on Apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, among others.

Social media has become a business of disinformation for profit and we are the product. Capturing our attention span, regardless of whether it is good for us, is the end goal of these companies.

I never signed a document agreeing to have my information sold, did you?

How is it possible that our attention span is being sold as a commodity? Why is it legal to collect this information from social media users without their permission?

In addition to this terrifying truth, platforms like Facebook have become more profitable to tech companies when they are biased towards false information.

Unfortunately, the truth is not as profitable as fiction, especially when considering political preference, conspiracy theories, and emotionally charged content designed to divide and create chaos.

A disinformation-for-profit business model is an acceptable business model on what planet?

It seems that people are either numb and checking out or are stocking up on weapons and ammunition. I am legitimately concerned about what may transpire after the election on Nov. 4 because of the role social media is playing in spreading lies and disinformation.

People are more aggressive and intolerant than ever and it feels like we are careening out of control toward a dystopian civil war that is already well under way.

I am afraid that both political sides are capable of violence and may be ready to express that violence, and it wouldn’t be the first time this kind of brutality transpired because of social media, just look at Myanmar.

Social media and the division that it creates has the ability to incite violence and crimes against humanity and we are reaching a fever pitch that will be hard to quell unless we wake up and realize that we are being manipulated by the illusion that is social media.

As Tristan Harris, a former Google employee and the founder of The Center For Humane Technology, says, “It’s not about the technology being the existential threat, it’s the technology’s ability to bring out the worst in society and the worst in society being the existential threat.”

Social media is a global assault on our democracy and needs regulation.

Delete the app, stop scrolling and realize that your attention is priceless.

Emily Tessmer is an SNU senior.