Note — Nov 11, 2018

This Is How We Radicalized The World

There are many articles about the ways social networks have been used for radicalization and help lead various countries into the abyss. This one includes a good “historical” recap of the escalation and a few examples of the “recipes” used so it’s a useful, if depressing, read.

Populist leaders and the legions of influencers riding their wave know they can create filter bubbles inside of platforms like Facebook or YouTube that promise a safer time, one that never existed in the first place, before the protests, the violence, the cascading crises, and endless news cycles. Donald Trump wants to Make American Great Again; Bolsonaro wants to bring back Brazil’s military dictatorship; Shinzo Abe wants to recapture Japan’s imperial past; Germany’s AFD performed the best with older East German voters longing for the days of authoritarianism. All of these leaders promise to close borders, to make things safe. Which will, of course, usually exacerbate the problems they’re promising to disappear. Another feedback loop. […]

Which will most likely leave the poor, the old, and the young to fall into an information divide. This is already happening. A study released this month from the UK found that poorer British readers got less, worse news than wealthier readers. And according to a new study by Pew Research Center, only 17% of people over the age of 65 were able to identify fact from opinion. Teenage Instagram wellness communities are already transforming into mini Infowars-style snake oil empires.