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The historical significance of urban centers
The impact of cultural and technological advances
The role of urban centers in shaping society
The misinformation and disinformation propagated by social media create a chain reaction of harm, acting as a force multiplier for exacerbating our worst problems as a society.
Focusing on content alone distracts from the core problem of social media.
Social media reduces belief in science and medicine, weakens trust in longstanding institutions, drives acceptance of ridiculous conspiracy theories, and damages faith in democracy. But you will find the same hate, the same disinformation throughout history.
Offensive and divisive content has always existed.
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An outright ban on profiling and targeting would help restore the public sphere to a far less distorted representation of society. Unfortunately, the economy of social media is built on profiling and targeting. These practices form the core of most platforms’ advertising models. As such, major te...
The arena in which individuals come together to share issues of importance, exchanging opinions through discussion and deliberation. It is within the public sphere that society develops an understanding of ourselves — our collective wisdom.
The public sphere of course does not represent a ...
Social media has inserted itself between each of us and our daily experiences, moderating and manipulating the information we receive about our society.
Platforms do this by profiling us over time and using those profiles to target us with selective content - custom curated news, ads, and p...
The biggest problem with social media is not the content itself, but the machinery of targeted distribution.
To fix this, we have two options: ban profiling and targeting practices or make the strings visible so we know when we are experien...
We can make the strings visible without disrupting business models, but we need to do it in an aggressive way. For example, we could require that every piece of content on social media be clearly labelled in ways that allow us to understand how it fits into the public sphere.
Is it sha...
Currently platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow users to see primitive targeting information about advertisements. To find this information, users need to click multiple times, which they will rarely do.
We should push for transparency in targeting. This means requiring platforms to cl...
We humans are decision-making machines. We spend our lives capturing and storing information about our world and using that information to build detailed mental models. We start from the moment we are born.
We sense and explore our surroundings, and we test and model our experiences. We ke...
Social media has distorted the public sphere beyond recognition. Each of us now has a deeply flawed mental model of our own communities. This damages our collective wisdom, but it is not the content itself that is most responsible. We must instead blame the machinery of distribution.
It's not the content, but selective distribution that is the problem.
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