Do social media threaten democracy? – Scandal, outrage and politics

The Economist

It’s interesting to read this Economist editorial alongside Zeynep Tufekci’s TED talk. It focuses on the polarisation of political discourse driven by the persuasion architecture Tufekci describes, resulting in the politics of contempt. The argument is interesting, but perhaps doubly so when the Economist, which is not know for its histrionic rhetoric, concludes that ‘the stakes for liberal democracy could hardly be higher.’

That has implications well beyond politics and persuasion and supports the wider conclusion that algorithmic decision making needs to be understood, not just assumed to be neutral.

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