Influencers and Insurrectionists

Last Updated on 25/07/2021 by

I keep hearing people talk about whether it was Facebook or Fox News or Donald Trump who led us down this deep mess of radicalization. But it’s feeling more and more to me like those are all the same things. Donald Trump is the essence of a conservative radio host. Facebook hosts Fox News, Trump’s decisions and tweets determine what’s on Fox News which determine what he’s thinking about, which controls what’s happening on Facebook which informs Fox News which informs Donald Trump.

The deeper mechanism is that, if you let this self-reinforcing feedback loop run, everyone in it gets more radicalized every day. That’s true on the left as well, just much less so. Why that is, is easy to speculate about, but I’m certainly not certain.

This is a real mess we’re in, and I think it’s important to recognize that social media is just media now. We are all influencers, and we all have a responsibility to use our creation and our attention in ways that aren’t destructive.

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