and 2017 is its Philip Morris moment
  • Services like Facebook are addictive by design [url=www.smokingsaleusa.com]Cheapest Marlboro Cigarettes Free Shipping[/url]. What does that say about our free will?

    One morning in January 1996 an American biochemist named Jeffrey Wigand walked down to his mailbox and found a bullet inside. It was the beginning of a sustained campaign of harassment, intimidation and death threats.

    Wigand's "crime" was to blow the whistle on tobacco firms which knew cigarettes were addictive and dangerous while denying that in public. In the end, he was vindicated: the US Department of Justice successfully sued Philip Morris and eight other companies for a systemic conspiracy to deceive and defraud the public.

    Today social media companies are having their Philip Morris moment [url=www.cigarettesonlinesale.com]Newport 100S Cigarettes[/url]. In the last few weeks Facebook, Google and Twitter have sent lawyers to Congress to defend them against charges that they let Russia interfere with the 2016 election. But this week Sean Parker, Facebook's first president, made an amazing admission which is actually more important: that the company's guiding question has always been"how do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?"

    Social media, he said, "exploit[s] a vulnerability in human psychology". By rewarding us with a little rush of satisfaction when people respond to our posts, it trains us to post more often. Its designers "understood this consciously - and we did it anyway." In other words, the creators of Facebook, Instagram and all the restdeliberately set out to make their product as addictive as possible.

    Facebook won't give you cancer, but it does have other effects. To understand them, look at the 20th century psychologist BF Skinner. Skinner is most famous for his experiments with animals, which showed they could be conditioned into certain behaviours by selectively rewarding and punishing them. But he also believed in applying these ideas to humans.

    Skinner thought itwrong and inefficient for the state to control people by force. Instead he thought it should reward them for doing the "right" things [url=www.cigarettesno1.com]Buy Cigarettes Online[/url]. That way we would feel like we were making our own choices, whereas in fact we would be doing what we're told. He tested these ideas in a mental asylum [url=www.usasmokingsale.com]Cigarette Tobacco For Sale Online[/url], where patients were given fake money as a reward for good behaviourwhich they could spend on various perks. He imagined them as the beginning of a whole new system of social order.

    Today we all live in Skinner's world. The science of addiction is everywhere from slot machines to the way Netflix automatically plays the next episode if you don't stop it within 10 seconds. Companies are valued on the basis of their ability to dominate our time. But as Skinner knew, any system of rewards is also a system of control, and with tech firms able to tweak rewards in evermore sophisticated [url=www.wholesaleusacigs.com]Newport Menthol Cigarettes[/url], personalised, data-driven ways, it's not just Sean Parker who is asking how much free will we really have [url=www.cigscoupons.com]Marlboro Cigarettes Website[/url].

    I love using social media, and in many ways it has made the world better. Millions of people who had no voice are now able to speak. That mantle now falls to tech firms, and is doubly unacknowledged because they themselves prefer not to acknowledge it.
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