Evan Williams, one of the founders of popular microblogging site Twitter has said that social media is making the world a dumber place and US president Donald Trump is a symptom of that media environment which is based on short attention spans.
Williams was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme where he made a few remarks about the social media culture, reports the Guardian. Williams is known to be openly critical of social media and the effects it has on the world at large going as far as to say that his social platform helped elect Donald Trump, earlier this year.
"The much bigger issue is not Donald Trump using Twitter that got him elected, even if he says so; it is the quality of the information we consume that is reinforcing dangerous beliefs and isolating people and limiting people's open-mindedness and respect for truth," Williams was quoted as saying.
He said that the social media ecosystem thrives on attention spans. "And that is what's making us dumber and not smarter, and Donald Trump is a symptom of that," Williams added.
He said the short attention span is fuelled by advertising driven media that churns out content minute after minute as now the measure is based only on clicks.
"Therefore quoting Trump's tweets, or quoting the latest stupidest thing that any political candidate or anyone else says, is an effective way to exploit people's basest instincts," Williams noted.
He also went on to talk about another venture he is backing called Medium, a platform for long- form journalism, which he believes will give people an alternative with information that can be trusted. On the epidemic of fake news spreading over the internet, he said that he was disillusioned about the internet's ability to make people intelligent. Access to information alone, according to Williams, does not make people smarter, but the quality and depth of information plays an important role, he added.
On the epidemic of fake news spreading over the internet, he said that he was disillusioned about the internet's ability to make people intelligent. Access to information alone, according to Williams, does not make people smarter, but the quality and depth of information play an important role.
On online abuse he made it clear that internet platforms have a major responsibility, and "that includes removing stuff" while also mentioning that freedom of speech is a lot more nuanced than it sounds.