Comment: The biggest threat to democracy? Your social media feed

On the one hand internet gives the possibility/ability to anyone a voice and a broad audience. And this is great. But on the other hand — and the focus of the article linked below- anyone with the most stupid of ideas can find a broad audience and spread hate and disinformation.

Those horrible jokes your uncle tells at the dinner table on family meetings go beyond the family dinner and the embarrassment of those subjected to such “ideas”, but find listeners, people who have the same mindset, who share the same (stupid) ideas and, say, values.

“The internet, in particular, intensifies the fragmentation of opinions, allowing people who are most passionate, motivated and outspoken to find likeminded others and make themselves heard — as we have seen on social media in the EU referendum.”

The stupid meet the moron online. And don’t fool yourself, stupid ideas spread better than anything that’d ask for some brains, for some complex thinking.

Lies, hoax, hate, SJW Tumblrs and vloggers… Internet is full of (sh)it.

This means that instead of creating an ideal type of a digitally mediated “public agora”, which would allow citizens to voice their concerns and share their hopes, the internet has actually increased conflict and ideological segregation between opposing views, granting a disproportionate amount of clout to the most extreme opinions.

Anyone with a camera, internet connection and some free time can just start recording the most idiotic material ever and end up with a legion of minions, sorry, followers, get a deal to write a book about absolutely nothing (not everyone is Seinfeld and this actually happens in Brazil) and tons of money. Why? Because people like (sh)it, they don’t have to think, just listen and broadcast, share, like and life goes on. It’s easier to go with the flow, that’s the herd behaviour.

It’s worth to read the article as it discusses the bubble efect or the echo chambers created or maintained by social media websites such as Facebook.

“People who have long entertained right-wing populist ideas, but were never confident enough to voice them openly, are now in a position to connect to like-minded others online and use the internet as a megaphone for their opinions. They become more confident and vigorous, because they see that others share their beliefs. This is concerning, because we know from previous research that increased contact with people who share our views makes our previously held beliefs more extreme. It grants us new group identities that permit us to do things we deemed inconceivable before. In this way, one could argue that the Brexit vote was as much a vote to reclaim one’s political independence as it was a vote to reclaim one’s lost national identity.”

Read: The biggest threat to democracy? Your social media feed