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Polarization is not the biggest problem in America – or Facebook –

Polarization is not the biggest problem in America – or Facebook –

It was the last week significant time in America. In Minneapolis, a weeping witness, some of whom were nine years old, described the last moments before George Floyden was killed by police. In Georgia, state lawmakers passed a law that provides for access to the polls disproportionate effect Black voters. Efforts to limit voter participation are also underway in 42 other states.

Meanwhile, in a seemingly different world, there was a debate about polarization in American society. Over the years researchers, journalists, policymakers and scholars have blamed polarization on many of the country’s ills, and when Facebook cited it as its main source, Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president for global affairs, responded. In one Essay published in Medium, the executive denied responsibility for polarization on Facebook, and more broadly argued ways in which individual preferences and actions could shape the operation of algorithms. Not surprisingly, the attempt drew a lot of criticism, mostly for arguing that Facebook plays little role in polarization.

This shift between criticism of Facebook and the role of algorithms sparked a lot of attention on Twitter among researchers, technical journalists and reformers, but it did determine what our national debate was. often missing. In the world of George Floyd’s assassination and the restrictions on black voting rights, polarization should hardly be our main concern, and neither should Facebook. The time and attention of Facebook executives and critics would be better to deal with growing anti-democratic and extremist threats, especially from right-wing political elites, in response to prominent movements for racial justice and political equality.

After the 2016 election, polarization quickly emerged as the main concern of many researchers who wanted to understand the issues of contemporary American politics. In the weeks leading up to January 6th coup attempt, he had a fever. Polarization means a variety of research in an extended research literature, but in general it distinguishes how much people are from each other across different dimensions, including politics and moral perspectives and their feelings for other party members and social groups.

At the heart of this research is a concern related to the weakening of social cohesion or solidarity, which researchers believe has the potential to damage the stability of the American political system. Over the last decade, “affective polarization ”—And the increase in negative feelings towards members of the opposing party — has arisen primarily as a major concern for the ability to weaken social relations, distort economic processes, and potentially lead. the erosion of political responsibility and democracy itself.

The causes of affective and other types of polarization are the subject remarkable discussion. Many media account and reform efforts are based on social media as a source of this national despair, but Clegg is right to confuse evidence directed at Facebook or other platforms. Such wise Liliana Mason has found the roots of polarization Human psychology and the change of the two political parties in the post-civil rights period, especially the “ordering” along the lines of things like race, religion, geography, and class. This means that people have less and less contact with opposing parties. And, ironically, the parties have become very different socially, even though Americans have similar political views on a variety of issues. Other scholars have defended it the role of political elites creating polarization for political gain, party member and identity appeals through campaigns, and high-quality multimedia environments which provide greater access to partisan media.

That doesn’t mean social media is completely trapped. In one new book, Chris Bail, director of Duke University’s Polarization Lab, shows how human psychology crosses social media design to take people to their identities in extreme ways. As a result, social media users often have a misperception of the political landscape and believe that there are more extremes than they actually have around.

We share many concerns about polarization, but it is not the first problem in this country. Rather, it is white supremacy and with it profound racial differences in policing and voting rights, as well as in health, wealth and education, technological reform, policy making, and broad public discourse should be given more attention than technology. democratic issues. As the Republican Party has well demonstrated, many of its leaders are committed to pursuing increasingly extremist and anti-democratic tactics as their representatives. especially white and Christian voters—Etik spreading false claims about election fraud and creating links with paramilitary groups ra taking misinformation and conspiracy as political tactics, encouraging a white reaction to the Black Lives Matter, and making policies and rhetoric against transgender rights.

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