September 20, 2020

Social-media platforms are undermining our democracy. Lawmakers need to step up and protect it.

In this article, Vasant Dhar and Helena Rosenblatt discuss the urgent need for social media regulation and threats posed to democracy.



In the absence of the fact-checking gatekeepers of traditional media, organized disinformation campaigns orchestrated by algorithms can spread false information and manipulate our emotions and actions at very low cost. Falsehoods and emotions travel like wildfire relative to the truth. It becomes difficult to tell the difference between fact and fiction. With one study finding 55% of Americans say they get at least some of their news from social media, and the numbers rising, American citizens are bound to become increasingly confused and ill-informed.

The problem is not only that people cannot garner the facts they need to fulfill their role as informed citizens. It is deeper than that. Users of social media are nudged into engaging mostly with "friends" and "followers" with whom they already share values, opinions, and beliefs, and each keystroke is recorded for the explicit purpose of better predicting how to change individual behavior.


Read the full article here.

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