About R. Scott Clark
R. Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association
, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books
and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. Read more»
He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.
Being a programmer and IT manager of many years, I agree with the premise of this post but only up to a point. This premise immediately falls apart when I, as the online viewer, decide to not go to the Facebook site. At that point, their algorithms have no effect on what I see.
It is really good that articles like this one can effectively demonstrate to people what Facebook is doing – but don’t think for a minute that Facebook is the only one. I feel it is imperative that Christians (especially young ones) stop allowing their peers to dictate to them what they should view or use as news sources. Bound up in these algorithms is the (sometimes hidden – sometimes not) promotion of a world view and morality that is far from that of our Christian faith. What the disclosure of these algorithms demonstrates is that this is not simply a result of chance.
Okay, sure, one can refuse to use the big SocMedia platforms and get the info independently (which is a good idea) but insofar as one is participating in the Big SocMedia platforms, one’s world is shaped by someone else’s algorithm. I think we agree on that.
Clearly FB is not the only one. We know that Twitter, on which I’m active, is doing the same thing for the same reasons.
Consumers need to beware.
With the increasing persecution of Christians by the liberal media, it is not hard to connect the dots on how certain antithetical interest groups might use algorithms to influence public opinion against Christians.
It seems Chinese Christians have a far greater understanding of digital privacy. Chinese in general know how to use VPNs, encrypted chat and email and probably know how to keep their smart phones from spying on them or else use a flip phone. China’s new ubiquitous facial recognition system is very tough to beat since facial recognition software is good.
Amazon is selling facial recognition software to any government agency that wants it throughout the world. All of your smart phone apps and IoT devices leak data that is available to anyone through their APIs. Even flip phones have a back door that allows a remote operator to turn them on and listen to your conversation if the serial number of the phone is known, thus these phones have to be kept in a faraday bag or mylar mailer.
If, as every Reformed minister seems to agree, the West is collapsing and persecution is imminent, the time for Western Christians to take digital privacy seriously was yesterday. Millennials, btw, mostly see no problems with ubiquitous surveillance and they will be the dominant political demographic shortly.