Even when social media platforms have been 100% efficient at eradicating pretend information and conspiracy theories, the issue will not go away, says Ethan Zuckerman, affiliate professor of public coverage, communication, and data on the College of Massachusetts at Amherst. The issue can solely be mounted by altering the political system in order that corrupt highly effective individuals cannot profit from giant percentages of the inhabitants believing conspiracy theories.
From his essay:
Blaming social media is simply too straightforward an evidence for the horrible state of affairs we collectively discover ourselves in as a nation. In keeping with polling this week, 7 in 10 Republicans consider Biden was not legitimately elected. For a lot of Republican politicians, there’s little incentive to problem this false narrative: attributable to gerrymandering, profitable their major is equal to profitable re-election, and nobody desires to alienate 70% of their voters. Whether or not we “repair” Fb or YouTube, whether or not or not we deplatform extra QAnon folks or drive militia members into encrypted chat areas, two extra years of elected leaders repeating disinformation goes to harm us as a society.
It’s not clear that Trump’s departure from the White Home will likely be a departure from the political stage. As long as he threatens a run in 2024, media retailers will really feel compelled to report on his phrases and ideas. Ignoring a former president is tough for information retailers to do – ignoring a candidate for president in 2024 is nearly unimaginable. One of many many fears I’m nursing in the meanwhile is that nobody will emerge to inform Republicans that they should abandon the apparent mistruths round Trump’s defeat and grow to be full companions in governing a nation that is going by way of a really tough patch.
In different phrases, I believe we’re attempting to repair social media partly as a result of it is too onerous and too scary to repair our political system. The issue is that even when we construct higher, extra considerate, extra cautious media programs – as I completely consider we should always do – they might not be capable to assist us by way of a second the place lots of our leaders embrace a demonstrably false narrative. This creates an unimaginable dillema for information media: report on what Republican leaders say and amplify disinformation, or agree to not report on some substantial proportion of our elected representatives.