New Report Says Social Media is Making Political Polarization Worse

A new report recommends that the federal government prioritize plans to enact stronger transparency requirements and other measures for tech platforms in an effort to combat polarization on social media.

The report released Monday by the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights argues that tech platforms have failed to “self-regulate sufficiently” and calls for government intervention.

The authors cite the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol as an example of social media contributing to political polarization in a way that manifests in real-world harm.

“We’re not just talking about political polarization just in the abstract, but it has these very specific consequences which we are seeing basically eroding aspects of democracy and civil relationships among people and trust in institutions and so forth,” said Paul Barrett, the deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights and one of the authors of the report.

The report recommends the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection devote “ample resources” to determining how technology was used to incite the violence on Jan. 6.

It also recommends Congress empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to draft and enforce new standards for industry conduct, and pass legislation mandating more disclosure about the inner workings of platforms.

The report also urges President Biden to persuade lawmakers and the public to confront online polarization to avoid “future versions” of the Capitol insurrection.

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SOURCE: The Hill, Rebecca Klar