Virtual environments and social media platforms are an important communication hub and source of socialization, shaping the referential framework for many digital natives. Social media have undoubtedly changed the way the human community communicates and shares information. It is thanks to them that social contacts can be maintained almost continuously, and information can be quickly accessed. Their downside is – which is also the primary focus of this study – that they have also become the generators of various dependencies and a source of human downgrading. Through sophisticated algorithms and targeted manipulative techniques of digital oligarchs, social media exploit the weaknesses of the human psyche. The ambition of this study is to provide an analytical and descriptive socio-critical insight into a relatively new phenomenon – surveillance capitalism and attention economy. The text identifies the selected socio-cultural consequences of the use of social media in the online and offline environment through the optics of human downgrading.
Human downgrading, social media, social networks, attention economy, surveillance capitalism