Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Don’t Be So Certain That Social Media Is Undermining Democracy<!-- wp:html --><p>Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty</p> <p>If you only read <em>The Atlantic</em> to get your <a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-school-tech-treats-students-with-disabilities-like-criminals?ref=wrap">tech news</a>, you’d probably be under the impression that <a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/all-the-big-ideas-for-fixing-social-media-are-bad?ref=topic">social media</a> is a Leviathan on an inexorable path to <a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-visible-deterioration-in-american-democracy-is-just-the-start-of-what-the-gop-has-in-for-us">devour democracy</a>.</p> <p>Headlines scream that Facebook is a “<a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/12/facebook-doomsday-machine/617384/">Doomsday Machine</a>” and an autocratic “<a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/11/facebook-authoritarian-hostile-foreign-power/620168/">hostile foreign power</a>” that has made American life “<a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2022/05/social-media-democracy-trust-babel/629369/">uniquely stupid</a>.” A recent <em>Atlantic</em> headline to a Jonathan Haidt article said it plainly: “<a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/07/social-media-harm-facebook-meta-response/670975/">Yes, Social Media Really Is Undermining Democracy</a>.”</p> <p>Whatever the magazine’s editorial stance, these claims are not empirically grounded, and it’s unlikely they’ll stop being used any time soon. <a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/democrats-and-republicans-unite-to-bash-big-tech-but-luddite-populism-is-not-helping-anyone?ref=author">Scary narratives have a way of spreading</a> and taking hold in ways that “we don’t know yet” wouldn’t.</p> <p><a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/dont-be-so-certain-that-social-media-is-undermining-democracy?source=articles&via=rss">Read more at The Daily Beast.</a></p><!-- /wp:html -->

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

If you only read The Atlantic to get your tech news, you’d probably be under the impression that social media is a Leviathan on an inexorable path to devour democracy.

Headlines scream that Facebook is a “Doomsday Machine” and an autocratic “hostile foreign power” that has made American life “uniquely stupid.” A recent Atlantic headline to a Jonathan Haidt article said it plainly: “Yes, Social Media Really Is Undermining Democracy.”

Whatever the magazine’s editorial stance, these claims are not empirically grounded, and it’s unlikely they’ll stop being used any time soon. Scary narratives have a way of spreading and taking hold in ways that “we don’t know yet” wouldn’t.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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