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2022-05-15 10:00:05

This newsletter explores the intersection of technology, human behavior, ethics, and systems reform. Did someone forward you this?  Sign up here .

First:  How social media’s business model breaks down our shared understanding. Then: A bonus Your Undivided Attention episode on “The Wisdom Gap," plus a CHT event on building conflict-resilient products.

In our last newsletter, we unpacked why technology is never neutral. Social media is no exception. Social media doesn’t simply reflect society; it shapes society. 

The world we see through social media is distorted, like looking into a funhouse mirror. These distortions are negative externalities of an advertising-driven, engagement-maximizing business model, which affects people and relationships in myriad ways.

These distortions don’t just affect individuals. Over time these distortions warp society’s perception of reality, breaking down our ability to find shared understanding. Shared understanding is needed for democratic functioning. It enables nuanced discussion, debate, and problem solving across party lines. Yet, today's dominant social media platforms are breaking down these critical capabilities at an alarming pace. This is why social media as it operates today is a threat to open societies worldwide.

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