A Pew Research poll shows that most Americans believe social media has damaged our politics and society. To the people who have paid attention to political discussions on Facebook and Twitter, this is not surprising. But can there be a solution?
Most Americans Believe Social Media Has Negative Impact
According to the Pew Research Center, almost two-thirds of Americans (64%) believe that social media has a harmful effect on how things are going in the country.
Most on both sides of the political divide viewed social media as a negative influence on society. But only 53% of Democrats thought so compared to 78% of Republicans.
What’s Wrong With Social Media?
The reasons for viewing social media as a negative aren’t very shocking. Respondents cited misinformation and an abundance of hatred. They pointed out that these platforms encourage extreme partisanship, polarization, and echo chambers. Others referred to the apparent anti-conservative bias that companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have displayed.
Those who believed that social media is a force for good say that it allows more people to connect with one another and helps people to stay informed. These are also important elements in this equation — but the fact remains that, to most Americans, the bad outweighs the good.
Many blame the state of political discussions on President Trump. But the truth is that this trend began long before he ran for office. With mainstream media figures on both sides promoting a more violent brand of politics, more Americans came to see those with differing views as the enemy instead of people with whom they disagree. If this trend continues, it might take a catastrophe on the scale of 9/11 to finally bring us back together.