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.