I think every 30 years or so we, the people, are presented with society stretching events - events that test how much we as a collective unit buy into what the government and the media feeds us and how much influence and power we have as a society in questioning our leaders. In the past these events, these tests have been more contained to individual countries. The leaders during these trying times benefit from testing their people because it helps them prepare for the future. It helps them keep the people contained and learn more about what they can and cannot get away with and possibly in what order. Essentially these events are response tests. How will we respond, what is too much, and what will it take for us all to band together and successfully "overthrow" the organizations behind the tests who likely don't have our best interests in mind?
What is different now, is that we have the internet and more specifically we have social media. This is a tool that our world leaders likely fear because it helps us all band together. I mean just look at how much the leader(s) of China control their population by restricting the websites and apps their people have access to. China is on the more severe end of the spectrum where the United States is closer to the middle.
Given that this new tool (social media) is so powerful to the common man - for better or for worse - it makes sense that old world powers would be scared and would feel the need to collect data on how powerful of a tool it is currently and what it's potential is in the future.
When your only source of news is watching CNN or FOX, you are easy to control, influence and manipulate. A problem starts when you begin to think for yourself. An even bigger problem starts when you start to band together and think something other than the defined narrative that's been fed to you by the people in power that really only want to keep the power to themselves.
I have read that Mark Zuckerberg's success with Facebook in the long term is because he pushes the boundaries by taking "five steps forward and one step back." In other words he makes substantial changes to Facebook that can be offensive (increased tracking, more in depth data collection, manipulative ads, to name a few low level examples) and when people get upset with this "progress," Facebook will barely "walk it back" by updating their privacy statement and sending out an email to it's users.
Our world leaders are doing this same thing, but maybe dialed back to three steps forward instead of five - given the larger scale and impact these leaders have on their people versus the influence access to social media has on people.
Eventually our leaders will find more technological scapegoats in order to manipulate and test us on higher levels while taking less of the blame when things go haywire. Think Artificial Intelligence. Now think of "progress" being made by our governments who are really just hiding behind "AI."
This world is becoming an unstable experiment.