How Today’s Social Media Lost Trust and Found Violence … Time to Opt Out?

We believe that ethical technology is technology that works for you… “It’s technology that helps you sleep, not keeps you up. It tells you when you’ve had enough. It gives you space to create or draw or write or learn, not refresh just one more time.” Tim Cook

Annemarie Berukoff
6 min readFeb 5, 2021

How did Social Media turn from a mild-mannered communicator to an uncontrollable Superman of data exploitation with forays into social activism, even political elections, with overwhelming influence about what we read, buy, think or how we communicate with or without privacy?

What unique single factor did the founders miss?

It all starts with an algorithm in computer science … a finite sequence of well-defined, data instructions, typically to solve a class of problems or to perform a computation. (Wikipedia)

In other words, algorithms are invisible pieces of code like a recipe that tell a computer how to accomplish a specific task to produce a certain result. Every time you click on your Facebook feed you are following an algorithm.

Those were the Happy Days at the beginning

At first the theory of technology was to use algorithms that encouraged good engagements with the company’s simple goal of collecting as much data as possible. “Do Good” was Google’s slogan.

I remember those early halcyon days time when social media was exciting with the ring of democratic promise. Social media first started with Friendster (2003) and MySpace (2005). We were invited to create our personal website or visit a chat room to participate in the public square freely and openly to discover and create new tribes.

Facebook (2007) promised to connect students on various campuses like never before. Twitter started a never-ending conversation with 140 characters or less. Google+ and Vine gave voices to millions of users. YouTube provided endless hours of daily uploaded video with expressions and creativity. Facebook soon started a monopoly with Instagram and WhatsApp.

Annemarie Berukoff

Retired teacher — Affiliate Marketer, Big Picture Wisdom, author 4 e-books: social media teens, eco-fiction ecology