It seems like forever-ago that Facebook got caught suppressing conservative news. They more or less managed to wriggle out of it by denying anything happened, meeting with several establishment conservatives, dodging a congressional inquiry, and admitting that maybe it happened:
The online giant denied that it’s shown “systematic political bias,” but admitted employees played a bigger role than previously acknowledged in determining what news is highlighted in the trending topics section.
Facebook also acknowledged that it couldn’t rule out the possibility that rogue employees unintentionally discriminated against conservative stories or even acted with malice in “isolated improper actions.”
What we're hearing now is that they actually learned what they needed to know: that you can't escape Facebook. Conservatives won't leave--no matter what they do. That means it's open season. Get ready for what some people deep inside the social media giant are calling 'Operation Suicide.' It goes by the much more obscure codename CONSULATE.
Project CONSULATE is an attempt to identify conservatives and then manipulate their feeds to make them as unhappy as possible--to sow despair rather than anger. We managed a sit-down with someone familiar with the project (although she does not work directly for Facebook).
RealTrueNews: Without giving anything away, what can you tell us about yourself.
Facebook Contact: I have a masters in applied psychology and work in social media marketing as a consultant. I'm aware of what Menlo park is doing even though I don't have an official professional connection.
RTN: What would you say they're doing?
FBC: They're using applied sociological techniques--basic stuff that's proven effective--to target conservatives, isolate them, and then do as much psychological damage as possible. On the emotional axis they're looking for sadness, feelings of hopelessness, rather than anger, which is a political motivator.
RTN: They're trying to make their users depressed? That doesn't sound like very good business.
FBC: It's no longer about business. Facebook gets its money from people who want insight into and, ultimately, control of the population. Facebook gives them that. Advertising is only a part of the picture. There are big-money donors behind the scenes. Government agencies. Like that.
What they're doing is horribly unethical. When they discovered that the more time you spent on Social Media the less happy you were, at first they tried to fix it--and then--
RTN: Then what?
FBC: They tried to weaponize it.
RTN: What did that entail?
FBC: Finding people with depression and seeing if they could--
RTN: If they could--
FBC: Be made to kill themselves. They convince themselves it's okay because they limit their targets to certain ideologies.
FBC: Yes. Conservatives. Christians. Like that. People they deem harmful to society.
RTN: And what do they do?
FBC: A bunch of things. They can subtly change the colors of the screen to be more depressing. They definitely change the news you see--they'll pummel you with awful stories. They have a system that can tell the emotional valence of news and if they find something horrible, they'll put it up.
They will show you stories that make you think your world-view is being crushed and there's nothing you can do about it. But also they empower your enemies.
RTN: How so? Well, if they find a contact who is antagonistic to you, they'll push interaction. Have your posts show up more. Have their posts hit you. If you post to them, it might be an hour before the notification pops up. If they post to you, it's instant if they're saying something nasty.
They stoke political fights. If they post something liberal and false, nothing. If you happen to post something that's not true? The CONSULATE system puts a Snopes link right under it. The people they favor get, effectively, a dashboard of links and facts to use against you. They don't even know it's special. They just think everyone is seeing it.
RTN: That's horrible.
FBC: It's very, very effective. We try to shield ourselves by sticking to news that makes us feel good--but CONSULATE attacks that directly and effectively. If all your friends start telling you that you're posting lies. If your kids start getting on your case with high emotions? It's because they're driving that traffic to you. If all you see is polls with your candidate losing? That's what they want you to see.
I think the trending news thing was a set up. I believe the guy was honest but I think they wanted to test it--to see how far they could push it and see if people kept coming back.
RTN: What's the goal of this? To change the election? To damage people they don't like?
FBC: Ultimately? I think they don't even recognize it themselves, but I think they want to build a new secular religion. These people are true believers with their own internal moral codes and their own Silicon Valley gods and idols. They're liberal in ways you couldn't imagine. They believe, literally, there is no wrong except wrongness of belief--and that this should be terminal.
RTN: How do we stop it?
FBC: [ laughs ] Oh, you don't. It's gone to far for that.