home > archive > 2024 > this article

Big tech is manipulating us even more now, despite the pushback

By Rachel Alexander
web posted April 15, 2024

Concerns have increased in recent years about Big Tech manipulating us, and there has been some pushback, but it hasn't stopped. It's getting worse. While they've backed off on some of the most harmful damage, like Instagram feeds harming young girls with excessive photos of unrealistic, photoshopped females, at the same time they're secretly increasing the less obvious manipulation. The companies put what they want you to see at the top of your newsfeed, to subtly nudge you in a direction they want you to go. 

Most of us think we're getting a service for free with Big Tech, but the price is the manipulation. You may think you're strong and aware enough to resist it, but when you see story after story in your feed about pets dying, how can you stop that from making you sad? Much of the manipulation is done to drive clicks, another significant focus is to drive people politically to the left, and a third goal is to get you addicted. 

More and more studies are coming out showing a link between heavy internet use and mental health problems. Compounding the problem is there are still no clear guidelines on what constitutes tech addiction. We blame the COVID-19 lockdowns for the recent rise in mental illness, which impacted the left the worst due to being more likely to live in the heaviest lockdown areas and their self-inflicted social isolation, but it's proving to be broader than that.  

Look at Facebook. They moved away from political news and now bombard users with posts about romantic relationships and people mourning the death of a pet. Constantly seeing news of dead pets is not good for anyone's mental health. Nor is the obsession with romantic relationships; viewing that type of information every day can lead to doubting your own relationship, cheating, depression and convince you to meddle in a perfect stranger's life with some inappropriate comment.  

Did you notice when Big Tech switched notifications from blue to red a few years ago? That's because it adds a sense of urgency to influence you to go look. They keep expanding the ways they notify you of new posts — text notifications, email notifications, multiple types of notifications on your desktop, notifications within the platforms, and even repeat reminders of those notifications. 

LinkedIn may be the worst; their opt-out page is lengthy with all the types of notifications someone can turn off. All of this is to create an addiction, which like almost any addiction, comes with harmful side effects. Addicted users neglect their work, families, healthy habits like exercise, and instead become artificially interested in whatever content they're being overfed. 

A former design ethicist at Google, Tristan Harris, admitted that he studied how to "persuade users to take certain actions" and "developed the techniques to make … apps and gadgets addictive." He said, "[H]ow would we hook people into spending more time on the screen or driving more page views or getting people to click on ads?"

With the exception of X, the Big Tech platforms that still allow political content to thrive, such as YouTube, Apple and Amazon, heavily censor conservatives and conservative reporting. LinkedIn suspended me multiple times for merely posting my news articles about election fraud. They are grooming users into becoming leftists. 

Longtime tech reporter Allum Bokhari observed, "Big Tech has become the most powerful election-influencing machine in American history." In 2020, he said a source at Facebook told him, "We have thousands of people on the platform who have gone from far right to center in the past year, so we can build a model from those people and try to make everyone else on the right follow the same path."

Bokhari said Big Tech assigns users "quality scores" that decrease based on how conservative their posts, friends, etc. are. He said the companies will not reveal their secret scoring, calling it "Silicon Valley's version of the social credit system overseen by the Chinese Communist Party."

He said a field of computer science called "network analysis" is dedicated to identifying groups of people with shared interests, which "gives them the ability to shut down a story they don't like before it gets out of hand." 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation observed that "platforms can … increase engagement by making you angry, anxious, or outraged, and these emotions are much easier to engender with automated processes." Adding to the problem, "Big Tech's monopolies — with their attendant lock-in mechanisms that hold users' data and social relations hostage — remove any accountability that might come from the fear that unhappy users might switch to competitors." About 68% of Americans get news from social media, according to Pew. 

What's so dangerous about this manipulation is it's being done under the guise of capitalism and compliance with the U.S. Constitution. I've written previously why Big Tech is no longer acting as free market players, and how we are basically being ruled by a hybrid oligarchy of government and large corporations.  

Thankfully, a realistic challenger to Google has emerged, Luxxle. It contains results from both the right and the left, and doesn't censor conservative sites; even articles from The Gateway Pundit are included in its news searches. Luxxle doesn't sell user data, and uses minimal user data to generate relevant search results.

This is desperately needed. Bokhari discovered that Google reduced the visibility of Breitbart News links in search results by 99% in 2020 compared to 2016. Clicks on Breitbart News stories from Google searches for "Joe Biden" went to zero and stayed at zero through the election. 

Bokhari has a brilliant solution to stop the manipulation. He said Big Tech should be prohibited from implementing their biased filters, since they're supposed to be merely publishers under Section 30 which protects them. Instead, third parties should be free to design filters that could be plugged into the Big Tech platforms, so people can choose which biases they want. Luxxle is already on the way, allowing users to choose right-leaning or left-leaning news if desired. ESR

Rachel Alexander and her brother Andrew are co-Editors of Intellectual Conservative. She has been published in the American Spectator,, Fox News, NewsMax, Accuracy in Media, The Americano, ParcBench, Enter Stage Right and other publications.


Ornate Line 


Site Map

E-mail ESR


© 1996-2024, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.