April 26, 2019

Watching the watchers: How the Big Tech platforms are working for — and against — you

This week, we want to draw your attention to a remarkably insightful series on social media manipulation from Destin Sandlin at his YouTube channel "Smarter Every Day".

Watching the watchers: How the Big Tech platforms are working for — and against — you

We’ve been watching the mechanics of the Big Tech platforms since before we founded Vubble Inc. in August, 2014.

From our backgrounds in the legacy broadcast media industry, we knew first-hand how powerful and potent platforms like Facebook and Twitter had become in the distribution of content in the information economy. We hypothesized that advertising revenue was driving most of the internal decision-making coded into those platforms’ algorithms, in a deeply problematic way.

A lot of our early investigating has had a direct impact on how we formed Vubble and the company’s values (not using advertising as a revenue model, for example). It’s been a big challenge, bucking the conventions of tech business-building, but world events like the US 2016 Election and the manipulation by dark players on democracy itself have accumulated and proven to us that we are on the right path.

This week, we want to draw your attention to a remarkably insightful series on social media manipulation from Destin Sandlin at his YouTube channel Smarter Every Day. The series is presented in three parts (watch below) and shows just how difficult the public’s relationship with the Big Tech platforms has become.

If you use social media or any of the Big Tech platforms, we encourage you to check it out.

Part One: Manipulating the YouTube algorithm

Part Two: Twitter platform manipulation

Part Three: People are manipulating you on Facebook

We want to say a personal thanks to Destin Sandlin for the enormous effort that went into this series. We know how challenging it must have been, not just in the research and production, but in gaining the access to the platforms.

Until next time — keep watching the watchers.

Tessa + Katie