Is social media a risk to humanity? These scientists think so.

Shirin Ghaffary discussed the harm that social media is perceived to do to society with Carl Bergstrom, a theoretical and evolutionary biologist and a professor at the University of Washington, and Joe Bak-Coleman, a Ph.D. student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University.

My sense is that social media in particular β€” as well as a broader range of internet technologies, including algorithmically driven search and click-based advertising β€” have changed the way that people get information and form opinions about the world.

And they seem to have done so in a manner that makes people particularly vulnerable to the spread of misinformation and disinformation.

Carl Bergstrom

Democratizing information has had profound effects, especially for marginalized, underrepresented communities. It gives them the ability to rally online, have a platform, and have a voice. And that is fantastic. At the same time, we have things like genocide of Rohingya Muslims and an insurrection at the Capitol happening as well. And I hope that it’s a false statement to say we have to have those growing pains to have the benefits.

Joe Bak-Coleman

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