To all my students, and to whomever else wondered what and WHY I taught the stuff I did…
The details of this story illustrate precisely why our coursework took direct aim at raising the level of discourse.
What is the story? In a nutshell, Facebook permitted C.A. wide access to its users’ private data, without their consent. Authorities now suspect that C.A. used the data to affect political influence in various countries around the world, specifically by way of on-line advertisements and news stories, both factual and contrived. People were fed information tailored to appeal to them and thereby challenged to discern the factual from the fictional.
Here are a sampling of reports about the story and its fallout, some of which has been severe.
The Global Significance
Raising the level of discourse is all about discerning and appreciating peoples’ motives, thereby helping to determine what people are after, in order to understand why they do what they do.
To my students, I am confident that our coursework has prepared you to face the kind of cognitive assault launched by C.A. on people across the world. For my part, I’m comfortable keeping my Facebook account open… for the time being, anyway!
To everybody else, yes, absolutely this post is a plug for raising the level of discourse, an approach I encourage all of you to consider.
Read more about my own general take on Facebook here.