How the polarizing effect of social media is speeding up
toby last edited by toby
On how this ties into social media platforms reaching viewership goals
So what the systems that govern YouTube and govern what you see realized, was that to serve that [viewership] goal, they would need to be providing new content that would create some sort of a sense of crisis, and some sort of a sense that you and your identity were under threat.
So what that might mean is that if you're looking for, let's say, health tips, information about vaccines, the best thing for YouTube to show you isn't straightforward health information. The best thing for YouTube to show you is something that gives you a sense that you are part of some community, let's say moms who are concerned about their kids, and that community is under threat from some outside danger. And that that will trigger a sense of alarm, that will make you want to come back and spend more and more time watching.
Heh... as a techie type... it amazes me how so many people are just beginning to figure this out...
On possible solutions
Whenever I would ask the experts who study this, what do they think? It's always some version of turning it off. Not turning off the entire platform, not shuttering the website. But turning off the algorithm. Turning off likes, the little counter at the bottom of the post that shows you how many people liked it or retweeted it. That's something that even Jack Dorsey, the former head of Twitter, floated as an idea, because he came to see that it is so harmful.
I have had this very discussion with some developer types who were, indeed, favoring removal of such. I argued that they should remain, and the real problem was best resolved thru ethical moderation. As evidenced in this interview, these capitalist driven big social media corporations are incentivized to fan, rather than douse, the flames. So mayhaps these thinkers are onto something here?