Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Social media as agents in the breakdown of shared understanding

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The above image is from an interesting and useful article by the Center for Humane Technology. The article begins:

In our last newsletter, we unpacked why technology is never neutral. Social media is no exception. Social media doesn’t simply reflect society; it shapes society. 

The world we see through social media is distorted, like looking into a funhouse mirror. These distortions are negative externalities of an advertising-driven, engagement-maximizing business model, which affects people and relationships in myriad ways.


  1. The Extreme Emotion Distortion 🥵 occurs as users have access to virtually unlimited amounts of personalized, emotional content, any user can find overwhelming evidence for their deeply held beliefs. This situation creates contradicting “evidence-based” views, resulting in animosity and fracturing of our collective sensemaking. 
  2. The Information Flooding Distortion 🤯 happens as algorithms and bots flood or curate the information users see based on their likelihood to engage with it, resulting in users believing that what is popular (e.g., hashtags, comments, trends) is public consensus, when in fact it can also be manipulated distortion. 
  3. The Micro-Targeting Distortion 🔬 happens as . . .

Continue reading.

Later in the article:


These distortions don’t just affect individuals. Over time these distortions warp society’s perception of reality, breaking down our ability to find shared understanding.

Shared understanding is needed for . . .

It’s important to note that the article is not simply a jeremiad. It includes:


We can uphold open society values by enabling . . .

The whole thing is worth reading.

I highly recommend subscribing to their (free) newsletter, The Catalyst.

Written by Leisureguy

15 May 2022 at 5:49 am

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