Former President Barack Obama stated Thursday that disinformation on social media is hurting democracy, and that social media firms must be topic to regulation.
“One of many largest causes for democracy’s weakening is the profound change that’s taken place in how we talk and eat info,” Obama stated in a speech at Stanford College.
Obama famous that most individuals depend on search instruments and social media as foremost sources for information and data, however warned a continuing feed of unmoderated content material carries risks.
“Over time, we lose our capability to differentiate between reality, opinion and wholesale fiction,” he stated.
Obama repeated a name he has raised earlier than for social media firms to be extra clear in sharing how their algorithms decide information feeds.
“A lot of the dialog round disinformation is concentrated on what individuals submit,” Obama stated, according to The New York Times. “The larger challenge is what content material these platforms promote,”
Obama stated social media firms must be topic to regulation to curb the move of disinformation.
“With that energy comes accountability and in democracies like ours, not less than, the necessity for some democratic oversight,” he stated.
He additionally talked about Russian President Vladimir Putin as somebody who is aware of learn how to exploit social media to advance his private pursuits and undermine democratic establishments.
“Social media didn’t create racism or white supremacist teams,” he stated, in keeping with CNN. “It didn’t create the form of ethnonationalism that Putin is enraptured with. All these items existed lengthy earlier than the primary tweet or Fb poke.”
Nonetheless, he stated steps to scale back the temperature on social media “might help tamp down divisions and allow us to rebuild the belief and solidarity wanted.”
This isn’t the primary time Obama has mentioned disinformation. Earlier this month, he admitted he underestimated how weak the world’s democracies have been, together with the U.S., whereas he was president.
Obama has been making a string of public appearances these days, together with on the White Home, to assist the Reasonably priced Care Act and promote his new Netflix docuseries “Our Nice Nationwide Parks.”