The whole system is vulnerable to manipulation.

Phones, apps, and the web are so indispensable to our daily lives—a testament to the benefits they give us—that we’ve become a captive audience. With two billion people plugged into these devices, technology companies have inadvertently enabled a direct channel to manipulate entire societies with unprecedented precision. 

Technology platforms make it easier than ever for bad actors to cause havoc:

  • Pushing lies directly to specific zip codes, races, or religions.
  • Finding people who are already prone to conspiracies or racism, and automatically reaching similar users with “Lookalike” targeting.
  • Delivering messages timed to prey on us when we are most emotionally vulnerable (e.g., Facebook found depressed teens buy more makeup).
  • Creating millions of fake accounts and bots impersonating real people with real-sounding names and photos, fooling millions with the false impression of consensus.

Meanwhile, the platform companies profit from growth in users and activity.

Facebook advertisers can target based on what you've shared directly, but also what Facebook has inferred about you. 

Facebook advertisers can target based on what you've shared directly, but also what Facebook has inferred about you.