An article caught my eye – click-bait on the BBC website. The title is ‘Cheating and manipulation: Confessions of a gaslighter’, which presses a few buttons in just a handful of words.
The article itself is ostensibly presented as something informative, but is entirely devoid of anything substantial. It’s just made up nonsense about some imaginary person who manipulates his lovers to cover up his infidelity. But how does he manipulate them?
Quoting from the earlier paragraphs, I the following snippets seemed telling.
he made jokes over a period of time pointing to her “obsession” with social media, making her feel that she was suspicious in an unhealthy, even “crazy” way
So that’s the extent of his ‘Gaslighting’ is it?
Greg says she had started to question herself and apologised for suspecting him, vowing to spend less time on social media.
So, questioning someone’s obsessive use of social media web sites is now a possible case of psychological abuse, to instil self doubt to the oppressed other half?
It’s hard to imagine that this article is not sponsored in some way. It seems a shame that the BBC is increasingly becoming a crappy vehicle for the kind of paid PR and marketing content that seems to have become the norm on the net over the past five or ten years.
I expect 2018 will see an intensive fight from the social media companies (mostly Facebook, I suppose) to combat the growing backlash against the techniques they’ve been exploiting to keep eyes glued to screens.
BBC Headline on 31-01-19, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47064453)
“Knife crime: Suspects could be banned from social media”
Apart from the obvious stupidity of the idea (which, let’s face it, has no real chance of being enforced, and would do nothing but undermine the rule of law), it was also a small part of a response to a rising rate of violent crime.
So why the prominence on the front page of the BBC web site? OK, it’s sensationalist, but it also perhaps unintentionally associates non-participation in social media with criminality. I have to wonder whether this will be one of the approaches taken to cement Facebook in peoples minds.
Also, same morning, I noticed that the headline for some random nonsense on Trump was variously “Sanders: ‘God wanted Trump as president'”, then “Sarah Sanders: ‘God wanted Trump as president'”, and seemed to settle on simply ‘God wanted Trump as president’. Presumably there was disagreement about whether ‘Sanders’ would be read as the Bernie variety rather than the Sarah variety the article actually mentions. Anyway, Trump’s had a severe emotional breakdown. Not Donald Trump, but Philomena Trump; lives over by the bus station?
They’re killing our precious BBC! To be fair, history has shown there were bits needing lanced, but really – have some respect.
- Sentiment Analysis of Microblogs, Tobias G ̈unther (2013) (alt link) – interesting examples of how useful mining 140 character messages can be.