Facebook is a breeding ground for fake news and polarized outrage, accused of corrupting democracy and spurring genocide . Twitter knows it has become a seething battleground of widespread, targeted abuse — but has no solution . YouTube videos are messing with the minds of children and adults alike — so YouTube decided to pass the buck to Wikipedia, without telling them . All three of those sentences would have seemed nearly unimaginable five years ago. What the hell is going on? Ev Williams says, of the growth of social media: “We laid down fundamental architectures that had assumptions that didn’t account for bad behavior.” What changed? And perhaps the most important question is: have people always been this awful, or have social networks actually made us collectively worse? I have two somewhat related theories. Let me explain. The Uncanny Social Valley Theory “Social media is poison,” a close friend of mine said to me a couple of years ago, and since then more and more of my acquaintances seem to have come around to her point of view, and are abandoning or greatly reducing their time spent on Facebook and/or Twitter. Why is it poison? Because this technology meant to provoke human connection actually dehumanizes.
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Everything is terrible: an explanation