At society’s fingertips lies a virtual world of information through the guides of the internet and social media. Single tweets, frequent Facebook posts and the uploading of selfies on Instagram has strengthened local, national and international connections. Google has become societies God with its Bible of information established to answer questions from “how to make pumpkin pie” to “how can 45 be impeached?” While high speed and ever so changing, these systems are very young in age. The knowledge of the impact that the internet and social media have in the world continues to develop every day. While this technological advancement can be credited with much of the progress made by the world today, the great power it has achieved is exposing itself as a monster in a blessings clothing. The article “Google, democracy and the truth about internet searches” argues that the internet and social media networking systems have been infiltrated with a negative bias that is plaguing the minds of naïve audiences around the world. The article “How Turkish Airlines Scored With User-Generated Content at EURO 2016” proves just how strong of an influence these networks can have on the public.
The main benefit of the internet and social media is its worldwide reach. Its sphere of influence is grand and therefore the responsibility it has to provide quality information is just as great. Google, the world’s most popular search engine, takes on this responsibility and proclaims in its mission statement that they strive to “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” (Admin). The way Google organizes and prepares its information to the public is called into question by the article “Google, Democracy and the Truth about Internet Search.” The article claims that Google and virtual networking, in general, are tools that “offer remarkable empowerment” (Admin) but on the flipside, “It enables people to do very cynical, damaging things” (Admin). In her article, “How Turkish Airlines Scored With User-Generated Content at EURO 2016.” Carole Cadwalladr showcases how the internet and social media empowered Turkish Airlines advertising ability. According to Cadwalladr the UEFA European Championship had 75,000 spectators but virtually over 300 million people were connected to the game(Cadwalladr). The worlds virtual abilities have not only increased accessibility to popular events but advanced the need for advertisers to take advantage of this flourishing opportunity. A correspondent for Broadband TV News reported that “Euro 2016 beat viewership records throughout Europe” (Correspondent at Broadband TV News). This widespread connection moved Turkish Airlines advertising sphere from the stadium to countries across the globe allowing the company to maximize its reach. While this example supports the Storyful administrators’ claim that the internet and social media can be empowering it also proves that negative propaganda, with access to the same outlets, can also be empowered.
With the internet and social media proving to be a powerful force in connecting to people, it was only a matter of time before corporations, organizations, political parties etc. found a way to manipulate the system to their advantage. The “Google, democracy and the truth about internet searches” argues that proponents of negative and discriminatory messages, like right-wing extremists, are guilty of corrupting these systems to advance their agenda by infiltrating the easily manipulated sources of information with their propaganda (Admin). In the same way that Turkish Airlines is encouraged to maximize its advertising potential, right-wing propagandists are jumping at the chance to spread their message faster and more effectively. This Storyful administrator cites Johnathan Albright who claims, “What rightwing news sites have done…is what most commercial sites try to do. They try to find the tricks that will move them up Googles page rank system. They try and game the algorithm” (Admin). While motivated by different goals both of these tactics are one in the same. Cadwalladr exposes how Turkish Airlines used their own strategy to take advantage of the virtual world in an effort to maximize their advertising potential. Cadwalladr explains that by teaming up with Storyful a system was created that vetted and validated content that was trending (Cadwalladr), they took the process a step further she explains they “geo-fenced the immediate areas around the stadiums, the host cities and monitored keywords across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube”(Cadwalladr). One can argue that the good outweighs the bad and that it is up to the individual to hold the responsibility to navigate these networks critically. The reality is that with the internet and social media networks being so young and seemingly powerful most people are naïve to the powerful monster that is hiding behind the curtains of advancement and progress.
The ability to manipulate the internet and social media has proven to be a fairly easy and popular method. However, the true power resides in just how successful these attempts have become. The article, “Google, Democracy and the Truth about Internet Search.” displays the success of right-wing propagandists by citing the start of example google searches like “are Jews”, “are women” or “do blacks” and exposing the extremely negatively biased and racists results that follow(Admin). While society was out googling pumpkin pie recipes, they missed the bias that has crept into their web browsers. With Google turning out seemingly correct information on a daily basis the average naïve person has no reason to think twice about the negative biases portrayed as reality on their screens. Turkish Airlines found great success in their strategy as celebrated in the article. Through their manipulation, they were able to diagnose trends such as Facebook being the prime hub for content that centered around family and Twitter showing a greater appreciation for adorable ads with a favorable time length(Cadwalladr). With such positive and money producing results, there is no sign corporations or the like will stop trying to figure out new ways to make these networks work to their advantage. Turkish airlines success in an advertisement during EURO 2016 helped prove just how great social media and the internet influenced our world today but it likewise supported the article “Google, Democracy and the Truth about Internet Search.” main point that empowerment, whether the message is negative or positive, is empowerment nonetheless.