Did Social Media Ruin Election 2016? (Facebook and the echo chamber.…
Did Social Media Ruin Election 2016?
Social media has changed the way that we talk to each other about politics.
There are two new phenomena that stand out.
On Twitter, there was large-scale public shaming of people who disagree with you. There are a lot of sarcastic, yet vicious, battles over Twitter.
"This is our present political social life: We don't just create political strife for ourselves; we seem to revel in it.
Social Media has had a profound effect on our political discourse this election season, primarily because of Donald Trump's exceptionally combative online presence.
Beyond one man's usage of social media, social media has forced us to wallow in the divisive waters of our online conversations.
During the election season, people on Facebook were bragging about deleting their friends or urging people to unfriend them over their political leanings.
A problem with format
Twitter is a messaging service that allows users to be anonymous, but what should have been a democratization of conversation has become a pile of sticky notes scattered on the ground.
Character limits on posts limit the quality of thoughts portrayed.
There are too many bots masquerading as real Twitter accounts to make any particular tweet feel trustworthy or genuine.
1/3 of pro Trump tweets and 1/5 of pro Hillary tweets were bots.
The tone of conversation on Twitter is becoming lower all the time.
Political canidate Twitter accounts frequently gave in to petty and vindictive arguments with each other.
Trump would constantly write personal attacks against his opposition.
Hillary and Jeb had a Twitter battle where they vandalized each other's promotional material and logos.
Facebook and the echo chamber.
Facebook changes your newsfeed to show you articles that are more aligned with your political position.
Facebook has a large amount of fake news proliferated on its platform, much of it being written outside of the U.S. purely for revenue gained from page views.
Facebook defends itself by saying that Facebook exposes people to significantly more sources than they've ever had access to.
It's not just the social networks.
"Social networks are built the way they're built, but how we've used them this year says just as much about our shortcomings as about any particular network's flaws."
Data tracking shows that Amercans were less concerned with policy than anything else.
The top three political themes across social media during 2016 were Trump's comments about women, Clinton's email scandal, and Trump's refusal to release his tax returns.
Social media helped create a scandal-driven election instead of a policy-driven one.
Only two policy-driven conversations on candidate's social media pages were in their top 10 most tweeted about days.