There’s something sinister about a company that wants to take over the world. And what’s even more sinister to me is how slowly and inconspicuously the take over happens. FB with its to “connect the world” mantra and Google with its to “organize the world’s information” mantra are examples of these companies’ intent to take over the world disguised as inspirational company vision posters.

When you consider quotes like this from Mark Zuckerberg when he told investors that the company makes decisions:

“…not optimizing for what’s going to happen in the next year, but to set us up to really be in this world where every product experience you have is social, and that’s all powered by Facebook.”

You realise there’s something greater at stake.

Think about about how much data Facebook has on you. Your passwords, your pictures, your connections, your buying habits, your surfing habits.

Through the power of algorithms Facebook knows more about you then you do and can accurately predict what you’ll do in the future.

And it’s not just Facebook…there’s also Google, Amazon, Netflix to name a few.

But how do you fight against it without looking like a Luddite? Or maybe like me, you suffer from FOMO – fear of missing out – so you comply with the slow take over of your life even though you can sense the impending doom.

And then there’s this thing with fake news. Although it’s not a new phenomenon ( you can read about the long and brutal history of fake news ) what’s got me questioning myself now is this:

That the “fake news” problem and its proposed solutions have been defined by Facebook as link issues — as a web issue — aligns nicely with a longer-term future in which Facebook’s interface with the web is diminished. Indeed, it heralds the coming moment when posts from outside are suspect by default: out of place, inefficient, little better than spam.

Is all of the attention on fake news part of Facebook’s plan to complete it’s self-contained eco-system in which all of us are trapped in it like The Matrix?

Take a gander down this list of 22 Ways Algorithms Know How You’ll Behave Before You Do and you’ll see that a future not unlike that of Tom Cruise’s in Minority Report isn’t too far fetched.

As ERIC SIEGEL writes:

Prediction as a capability is booming. It reinvents industries and runs the world. More and more, predictive analytics drives commerce, manufacturing, healthcare, government, and law enforcement. In these spheres, organizations operate more effectively by way of predicting behavior—i.e., the outcome for each individual customer, employee, patient, voter, and suspect.

For instance, have you ever wondered how Facebook decides what you see in your news feed?  In theory you should see all of your friend’s posts, but that’s not the case.  Here’s what Facebook actually does:

Facebook: Predicts which of 1,500 candidate posts (on average) will be most interesting to you in order to personalize your news feed. To optimize the order of content items, the News Feed ranking algorithm weights around 100,000 factors such as recency, likes, clicks, shares, comments, time spent on posts, poster popularity, your affinity for the poster and content area, and measures of relevance and trustworthiness. This intensifies the “addictive” engagement, with two-thirds of Facebook’s 1.44 billion monthly users logging in daily.

When was the last time you ordered something from Amazon? There’s a chance that Amazon knew what you were going to order before you did and proactively placed the order at one of its hub or on a truck to reduce any delays between when you placed your order to when you received your purchase.

I haven’t read Eric Siegel’s book – Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die – yet, but I bet Amazon already knows I’m going to buy it and is loading it on a truck as I type!


Last night at about 8:30PM my wife’s iPhone suddenly starts pinging.  She got a text message. Then another and another. I think in the end she received something like 25 text messages in the space of about 30 minutes.

For some people, this might be normal. But for my wife, it’s out of character.  She uses her iPhone less than anybody I know.

Turns out, one of her friends had just discovered all the things she could do with iMessage after the latest iOS update.


If you really don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry; you will soon. Apple’s new iMessage app store, introduced just a few weeks ago, is now home to more than 1,250 sticker packs, according to market researcher Sensor Tower Inc. Last month, Twitter released its own promoted sticker selection. Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Google’s new Allo, they’ve all got ’em.

You may be tempted to laugh, but don’t.  These sticker packs are big business.  Take Kimoji for instance:

The $2 Kimoji app, available for Android and iPhones, has been downloaded more than half a million times, according to Sensor Tower. Even though many of the stickers are, as the kids say, NSFW (not suitable for work), the app has made nearly $1.7 million in revenue since its December 2015 launch.

Like ringtones and “Candy Crush” lives before it, the sticker pack is the new digital impulse buy. And the creators and app stores know it. A dollar or two for a sticker pack doesn’t seem that harmful—that is, until you realize you’ve bought 15 or so packs.

You might be asking yourself why.  And the answer, writes Joanna Stern, is:

 A sticker is worth a thousand words, of course. With text-based communication, we miss facial and visual cues. And you know those tiny emojis that come with your phone? They just don’t cut it. With stickers, you turn your boring message transcript into a fun comic book.