"Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now" is a book by Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist and philosopher, in which he argues that social media is having a negative impact on individuals and society as a whole. The book presents ten reasons why people should delete their social media accounts and stop using these platforms.
Here are the ten arguments presented in the book:
You are losing your free will: According to Lanier, social media companies use algorithms to manipulate users and limits their ability to make independent choices. These algorithms are designed to keep users engaged and active on the platforms for as long as possible, because the longer users stay on the platform, the more data the company can collect and the more ads they can show, which ultimately translates into greater profits. To achieve this goal, social media algorithms are designed to show users content that is most likely to keep them engaged, based on their past behaviors and preferences. For example, if a user has previously engaged with posts or pages related to a certain topic, the algorithm is likely to show them more of that type of content in the future. Similarly, if a user spends more time scrolling through their feed, the algorithm is designed to keep showing them more content, even if that means promoting less relevant or lower quality content. This can create a feedback loop where users are exposed to a narrow range of content that reinforces their existing beliefs and interests, while limiting their exposure to alternative viewpoints. Additionally, social media algorithms are designed to be addictive by providing users with variable rewards in the form of likes, comments, and other forms of social validation. This can create a psychological dependence on social media, making it difficult for users to stop using the platform, even if they recognize the negative impacts it may be having on their lives.
Quitting social media is the most finely targeted way to resist the insanity of our times: Lanier argues that social media amplifies the worst aspects of human behavior and that quitting these platforms is the best way to resist this trend.
Social media is making you into an asshole: The anonymity and distance of social media can lead people to behave in ways they would not in real life, causing them to become more aggressive and hostile. In addition, social media platforms often prioritize sensational or controversial content that generates high engagement, such as outrage-inducing news stories or provocative comments. This can encourage users to engage in performative outrage or to share extreme or polarizing viewpoints, rather than engaging in constructive dialogue or seeking common ground.
Social media is undermining truth: The algorithmic nature of social media means that it can create "filter bubbles" that only show people information that confirms their existing beliefs, making it harder to find and accept new information. Social media can also spread false or misleading information, which can contribute to the spread of fear and anxiety. This can create a climate of mistrust and suspicion, and can make it more difficult for people to engage in constructive dialogue and compromise.
Social media is making what you say meaningless: The sheer volume of content on social media platforms means that it is difficult for any one voice to be heard, and the constant churn of information makes it difficult for people to remember what they have seen.
Social media is destroying your capacity for empathy: Lanier argues that the constant use of social media can lead people to become more disconnected from each other, making it harder to feel empathy and compassion for others. It does that by presenting events and people as objects or images, rather than as living, breathing individuals with feelings and emotions. When people are reduced to objects, it becomes easier to view them as less deserving of empathy or compassion. Also, as mentioned earlier , social media can create filter bubbles that reinforce a user's existing beliefs and opinions, while limiting their exposure to opposing viewpoints. This can contribute to the dehumanization of people with different perspectives and backgrounds, leading to a loss of empathy and a lack of understanding.
Social media is making you unhappy: Studies have shown that the more time people spend on social media, the more likely they are to be unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives. Social media encourages a culture of distraction and instant gratification, where users are more concerned with receiving constant updates and feedback than with engaging in deeper forms of learning or reflection. This can make it difficult for people to concentrate or engage with complex ideas, and can contribute to a sense of superficiality and shallowness. It also creates a pressure to constantly present an idealized version of oneself, which can lead to feelings of insecurity, envy, and low self-esteem.
Social media doesn't want you to have economic dignity: The business model of social media companies is built on advertising, which creates a constant pressure to collect more data and keep users engaged for longer periods of time.
Social media is making politics impossible: Social media can contribute to a decline in trust in mainstream media, as people increasingly turn to social media for their news and information. This can make it more difficult to have a shared set of facts or a common understanding of the issues at hand. This polarization and extremism on social media can make it difficult for people to have constructive political conversations, and can lead to a breakdown in democratic institutions.
Social media hates your soul: Lanier argues that social media companies are eroding people's sense of self-worth and dignity by reducing them to data points and subjecting them to constant surveillance.
Overall, "Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now" presents a powerful critique of social media and its impact on society.
And while deleting social media entirly might not be an option as , for some, it contain a business or person ties you cannot cut. Once you understand the dangers of social media and how it's trying to affect you, you would be wise to use with extra causion.