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Bad influence? Social media and the current political climate

APTOPIX Electoral College Protests
Posted at 7:55 PM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 09:18:33-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — After the pro Trump rally that turned to a riot in Washington D.C. there is a lot of discussion about what happened and the influence of social media and other internet sources.

Facebook and Twitter suspended the Presidents accounts saying posts could be inciting violence. There are arguments for blocking posts and others for keeping them public.

One debate is whether it prevents problems or pushes radical thinkers to more covert social sites. "There's some concern, everyone who is spreading that information, or hate speech, or whatever, and make them be on their own platform, they're quarantined from everyone else, it also might radicalize them," said CU Boulder, Assistant Professor, Casey Fiesler. She researches and teaches about social media.

A growing amount of research also shows social media's influence on political thinking. Many follow what others have posted on sites like Facebook. Facebook does not post news stories, but people you have chosen to follow do. It can lead to a “filter bubble.” “They’re being curated for you in an insanely personal way,” said Fiesler, “Because the only sources of that news are the people that [are] your Facebook friends or the groups you subscribe to. It is an online association with information coming from sources thinking similar to you and less likely to share differing views.