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Facebook Keeps Growing Manipulative


The use of Facebook has become so integral to our routine we do not notice how it happens. Reading news while drinking morning coffee, skipping or closing annoying ads and saving interesting to examine later – how conscious are we about these everyday actions? Not quite, apparently; they are mechanical. This is where the threat of manipulation actually rests.

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Facebook is the world’s largest social network with almost 3 billion monthly active users and dozens of supported languages. It enables staying in touch with relatives and fellows around the globe. Besides, it offers tools to businesses for creating, maintaining, and improving brand awareness through direct communication with customers. The other side of this coin, however, is the rapid spread of all sorts of fakes and propaganda.

Politicians Use Facebook to Misinform Voters

It is natural, in fact, that practically limitless access to information breeds lies, as it means no filtering. However, the speed with which Facebook is degrading into an arena of dirty political battles is concerning. Specifically, the amount of states to participate in social media manipulation equaled at least 28 in 2017 and at least 70 in 2019. Among those are not only authoritarian regimes, as you might have thought hopefully, but also not less than 45 recognized democracies. In 56 countries, the manipulation had a form of well-planned and organized campaigns. Facebook, apparently because of the coverage it allows, has become the main platform for unethical activism.

Facebook Knows about Manipulation and Lets It Happen

One of the bright examples is the election of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández in 2017. Prior to the vote, he had been inflating the popularity of his Facebook posts with the use of fake accounts for almost a year. The administration did not interfere with the improper activity, although it eventually appeared quite easy to reveal.

The Largest Target Audience is the New Generations

Although this may sound prejudiced, statistics prove that social media are the area of youngsters. Two-thirds of active Facebook users are under 35; this demographic is regarded as the guides to the future. In fact, however, these people become particularly vulnerable to political manipulations and propaganda, which they even do not realize. How often do you check the origin of the likes under posts, especially by the politician who appeals to you? It, meanwhile, can form a wrong view of his or her popularity.

We Devote Much Time to Facebook but Lack It for Attentive Reading

19.5 hours, nearly a day –we spend this long on Facebook every month. Not at once, of course, but in small portions in timeouts, as most active users have jobs. This means many scroll their feeds frequently but carelessly simply to switch off from work, without speculating on how realistic what they see is. Outstandingly wide room for manipulation.

The Solution

The above, however, is not as terrifying as it may seem to be, on the condition of awareness. Here are the tips on how to minimize the likelihood of being manipulated:

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  1. Read carefully. Try to break the bad habit of looking through informative posts as a way to relax.
  2. Doubt. Never consider any important information true by default, even you like the source. Moreover, especially if you do.
  3. Fact-check. Before reposting or sharing anything more than a cat picture, make sure it is present in at least two more sources not connected to each other.
  4. Do not panic. Fear prevents you from thinking rationally. Be calm and confident when using your account and the probability of misinforming you will drop.


Information Sources Bradshaw, S., & Howard, Ph. (2019). Use of social media to manipulate public opinion now a global problem, says new report. Oxford Internet Institute. Web.

Mohsin, M. (2021). 10 Facebook statistics every marketer should know in 2021 [Infographic]. Oberlo. Web.

Renner, B. (2020). Study reveals which type of people are most likely to use — or not use — Facebook. Study Finds. Web.

Wong, J. C., & Ernst, J. (2021). Facebook knew of Honduran president’s manipulation campaign – and let it continue for 11 months. The Guardian. Web.

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