The only solution to the existential dilemma threatening us all whether we use social media or not is for governments to require platforms, and that includes search engines, to be legally responsible for the veracity and intention of the information they publish just like newspapers. The 2018 election looms yet here we are still drowning in a sea of lies on social media while Zuckerberg has been given yet another pass by lawmakers who could regulate his company.
There are no easy answers to the recent emergence of the myriad of problems social media has created by de-centering truth, promoting a reductionist rhetoric to debate serious matters and using personal data to sell advertising. These problems threaten our democracy. Trump can use Twitter so well because it encourages and even rewards low-information people like himself to lie and bully. That’s the way it makes money. Twitter should pull the plug on Trump, but it won’t because he’s just too good for its business.