Fundamentalism usually refers to the strict adherence to the basic principles of any subject or discipline or steady attachment to a set of simplified beliefs. Depending upon the context, fundamentalism can be a pejorative rather than neutral characterization, indicating political perspectives “right-wing” or “left-wing” and many others. Now in the world of new media Facebook is spreading fundamentalism around the world. Facebook is playing a vital role in arousing the sense of fundamentalism in its users without even letting them know.
How Facebook is Spreading Fundamentalism
Following are some techniques which the Facebook is using to incite fundamentalism in its active users.
1. Videos that Invoke Religious Fundamentalism
On December 17, 2013, Facebook introduced the videos on your News Feed that would start auto playing. They would mute on default and, at the end of the video, options of related videos you might want to watch appears. After the introduction of this Facebook feature, Facebook audience is subjected to wide range of similar videos that incite religious rage between the people of different nations. Facebook’s auto playing video feature swirled together into a perfect storm. Later in the same year, ISIS announced a new massive media outlet that planned to use social media, particularly videos, as an aggressive recruitment tool. A culture shift was happening that we are finally beginning to see the consequences in the form of religious fundamentalism all around the world because of this Facebook new feature.
2. Political Fundamentalism
Political activists are using Facebook as a tool to run their political campaigns and is becoming root cause to excite political fundamentalism in social media users of Facebook. Facebook announced that it was tweaking the algorithm, in an effort to defeat clickbait, to favor things like time spent on your News Feed. That meant comments and engagement mattered more than they used to, which meant content that favored identity became even more valuable. It was a watershed moment for Facebook’s world. Donald Trump and ultra-conservative politician Rodrigo Duterte won the elections due to their heavy social media campaigns on Facebook. It is undeniable how fast these political fundamentalist far-right political movements are growing making public crazy about it and Facebook is providing platform for this silly thing.
3. Racial Fundamentalism
Facebook’s higher-ups didn’t consider algorithmic tweak. Algorithmic tweak is basically Polarized online spaces in the West like Anonymous, Gamergate, and the men’s rights movement. They emerges from the single source that is frustrated young men who think their place in the society is shrinking. These fringe movements would eventually break through, hit Facebook, go mainstream, and spread around the world and support racial fundamentalism.
Which has long held an unspoken connection to racism and sexism on Facebook pages more closely aligned with traditional right-wing ideology.
4. Meme Pages
Facebook Algorithms identify that a user likes one particular page and suggest others, creating an echo-chamber effect that can lead to some pretty scary places. For example In Russia, isolated young men post memes on conservative VK pages and then go on to join the pro-Putin troll farms that dominate Russian media. Australia has a constellation of anti-immigration Facebook groups that connect Australian nationalism and male empowerment, the most notorious being United Patriots Front. Their Facebook pages get bigger. For instance, after a user likes the Australian United Patriots Front page, Facebook suggests more pages to like, such as the National Democratic Party of Australia and Stop The Mosque In Narre Warren. The Britain First page lists Christian Fightback News and Donald Trump as pages you should like next. But their memes have appeal and the most viral ones go mainstream. And in this way facebook becomes radical to meme pages.
5. Banter culture
In the Facebook world banter culture is assuming the shape of havoc. Every single post, comment, share, pages and all the stuff on Facebook is not without banter in order to go viral. This culture is promoting a kind of fundamentalism on Facebook. And Facebook too is promoting that culture to get more time of users on Facebook. Banter culture which has long held an unspoken connection to incite hatred and anger in the behaviors of users.
6. Global Surge of Nationalism
The cold wind of intolerance, authoritarianism, and nationalism is blowing across America and Europe in the boundaries of Facebook. The unexpected rise of Trump and Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party of Austria was disturbing in the ways on Facebook that both calls for closed borders in particular to Muslims and wants to stop all Muslims from entering US for an undefined time. Turkey is no longer a free society. The country has endorsed this new spreading version of authoritarian Nationalism. A German far right wing neo-Nazi party (NPD) and the nationalist alternate for Germany party (AFD) have been steadily increasing in popularity. If Facebook would not stop promoting this fundamentalism on boundaries of social media there are threats and predictions of world war 3.The consequences of this spreading Nationalism cannot end well. Nationalism promotion by Facebook makes international cooperation difficult and can as history shown cause war.
7. Facebook’s Recommendation Engines
Facebook’s recommendation engines appear to promote political ideology like any kind of content, pushing users even deeper. These engines are made to promote any kind of agenda you wanted to promote. For example political, advertising, campaigning, branding, propaganda, nationalism, racism and radicalism etc.
8. Facebook’s News Feed a Threat to Democracy
Facebook’s News Feed silences the minorities because if you don’t have a popular opinion or popular post, that opinion won’t even be seen by your own friends. It’s very important now within the context of the ISIS and all the tragedy in Paris and other cities, it makes it hugely important in terms of politics. Because the process that was connecting young Muslim men and women who were being radicalized was most likely happening in other communities as well. They are expose to their own views on Facebook instead of being exposed to different views and discussions, it will only be stuck in their own kind of mindset. And this is called Facebook’s decline of text online in general as a threat to democracy.
9. Fake News Stories
Fake news is so easy to make trend on Facebook. While Facebook appears to emphasize popularity, it has also done everything to make sure users stay within the app for the long time. For websites, this means the competition to create shareable content that can go viral. And that’s how Facebook, where almost half of all Americans get their news, has become awash with fake news. For example a fake story about Fox News’ Megyn Kelly being fired get viral. Since then, fake news has regularly circulated in huge numbers across Facebook’s network.