Response #2

In Chapter 3 of Dana Cloud’s book, Reality Bites, she explains how truth is appears as information that circulates as truth in mass media environments and it is mediated by a wide range of technologies such that they have control over the content we view. Cloud also notes that since truth is mediated, it is also altered through the perception, the insight and the interpretation of groups who have influence over others. In addition, Cloud adds that these perceptions influence the decision-making of others which leads to events such as protests and riots. Therefore, these frames of thinking can become generalized or global which leads to greater outbreaks of similar courses of action if they are mediated through means of technologies . One such technology that is becoming an important factor in the shaping of reality is the algorithm.  Algorithms are formulas specifically designed to regulate a website’s content. With regards to the control over perception through the use of technology, there are many algorithms that are being utilized to influence people on social media, including Youtube and Facebook. These algorithms are used by political groups to radicalize others on such platforms. For example, Kevin Roose highlights the influence of algorithms when writing about their presence on both Facebook and YouTube. 

Roose follows writes about the cause and effects of media upon a person. In “The Making of a Youtube Radical” we see Cain being influenced by right-wing youtubers as well as conspiracy theories that questioned notable figures that were democractic such as Barack Obama’s citizenship and JFK’s assaniantion. Youtube’s overall platform has played a role in the outcome of Caleb and Roose states, “These interviews and data points form a picture of a disillusioned young man, an internet-savvy group of right-wing reactionary and a powerful algorithm that learns to connect the two. It suggests that YouTube may have played a role in steering Mr. Cain, and other young men like him, toward the far-right fringes”. Youtube provides an outlet for radical groups to produce biased and untrustworthy content that is repeated constantly on a person’s viewing because of Youtube’s algorithm. Conversely, in Dana’s Cloud Reality Bites, it states, “  when there are competing frames, there is struggle over the shaping of the experience. The influence of a particular frame is determined by the capacity of a group to control technologies of mediation.” As a result, these radical groups have used youtube to adhere and tailor it to their liking . And so by producing particular frames that influences a larger group of people, Caleb Cain represents a widenet of individuals who are caught in between personal ideologies and new information that is corrupting it. 

The Business of Internet Outrage, a podcast made by the daily, exemplifies this practice of alternative truth or reality being present through media platforms that are being utilized by radical groups. Corey and Christie Pebbles created a facebook page, MadWorld, which promoted radical ideals and conservative views. They rendered the truth to a complex fallacy  and promoted their own agendas which was then highly publicized by peers and many of the new followers. By having control over this particular frame as mentioned by Dana Cloud, they were able to radicalize and empower the lives of many individuals. For example, Cesar Sayoc, infamous for mailing bombs to democratic politicians, becomes a prominent figure within the last few minutes of the podcast. In other words, he is another version of Caleb Cain in the sense that he was influenced to do or become something that he wasn’t before because he was unaware of the influence of radical groups. 

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