Dear Editor:

Have you ever searched for something on the internet and the next day your email, Facebook and Amazon have advertisements and unsolicited postings related to the same subject you were searching? 

This is not coincidence. You have been “digitally fingerprinted.” This is the result of “algorithm tracking.” 

You may think you have freedom of choice, but you would be surprised. 

Algorithm tracking is becoming ubiquitous, employed by Facebook, Google, and Amazon, Netflix, etc. and can exert significant influence on what we read, watch and buy.

Another reason our freewill is being compromised is, when we use computer search engines a large percent of all possible alternatives may be excluded. 

We’re seeing only a fraction of all the potentially relevant information available. We are being manipulated.

Computer searching and browsing triggers unsolicited postings generated by algorithm tracking. 

This explains why recently I started receiving email from “The Intellectual Conservative, Right Wing,” and other conservative platforms. 

It all began after a Republican friend of mine informed me that Donald Trump had Tweeted that a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles is running a global child sex-trafficking ring. 

He added, the FBI verified many liberal, Democratic politicians, and high-ranking officials are members of it. Seriously?

I was very skeptical. So I went to the search engine FactCheck.Org. I found out the source of the story came from QAnon, a far right organization that promotes crazy, totally fabricated conspiracy theories solely for the purpose of creating public rage and motivate Conservative voting. 

The FBI investigated the absurd theory but totally discredited it. Further, Mr. Trump was aware of this when he irresponsibly posted his Tweet.

My search for truth, prompted my algorithm to identify me as a conservative and the unsolicited postings started rolling in. 

On the other hand, my algorithm on Facebook  identified me as a liberal. 

This time it was right. 

I get lots of liberal postings, cartoons and opinions by historical and modern day liberal intellectuals.

So, I get a big dose of propaganda from both the right and left wing of the political bird as well as crazy conspiracy theories out the tail. 

On the lighter side, my cyber browsing has also established my propensity for watching funny animal videos. 

Watching these videos seems innocent enough and research has shown that watching a box of puppies wrestling can raise dopamine levels in the pleasure centers of our brain.  

However, this research also revealed that this makes us more susceptible advertising tempting us to “buy now” goods and services that pop up in the margins of the videos. 

All this said, I still believe I have free will.

My choices are based on my worldly experience, research and gut instincts. 

But, I’m well aware that a number of efforts are at work trying to manipulate my decision making. 

Using Star Wars vernacular … Battle stations, Battle stations. Deploy algorithm defense shields. 

Awareness can prevent us from becoming an algorithm equivalent of “The Manchurian Candidate”.

Tinker Paul Silver