I've spent much of the last year insisting to anyone who'll listen that Facebook, Twitter, and the like will be responsible for the demise of democracy. There's an instinct to point fingers; to find someone to blame for the information hellscape in which we now find ourselves. Every day one tech giant or another is forced to play defense. Because we can't quit Facebook or Twitter, we become desperate for the companies to save us from ourselves.
That's not going to happen, argues Data & Society founder and Microsoft researcher danah boyd. Google, Facebook, Twitter — none of these companies is sitting on a silver-bullet solution.
"[W]e have a cultural problem, one that is shaped by disconnects in values, relationships, and social fabric," boyd says. "Our media, our tools, and our politics are being leveraged to help breed polarization by countless actors who can leverage these systems for personal, economic, and ideological gain."
"Now there are such notable societal divisions, and rather than trying to bridge them . . . it's about looking for a blame, looking for somebody that we can hold responsible without holding ourselves individually and collectively responsible," boyd says. "Unfortunately, that's going to do squat."
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