It’s all very well to say that social media networks have an overwhelming tendency for people to segregate into in-group out-group and thus Facebook is to blame for Trump’s victory in the USA but surely it’s the cross-pollenation of advertised ideology (Russian interference) made possible by the interconnectedness that swayed enough voters who’d otherwise NOT have voted Trump, into voting for Trump. Thus the very penetration of people’s supposed polarisation was able to make a difference, facilitated by social media.
The real complaint seems to be a justified indignation of experts, professionals and traditional curators of mass information against an undermining of their hegemony without the courage to blame the people (en masse) for rejecting them. So blame social media. Blame Trump. Whatever.
The pressure on the part of the pro-democracy “experts” on social media is a backdoor censorship (or at least conditioning) – an antipathy to unregulated content or algorithm-biased content. Without saying it openly – cuz they say regulate Facebook or Twitter – they are saying “don’t let all that mass of individuals NOT be conditioned” … even if the conditioning is for the good.
Big data and algorithms reduce a lot of the outlier exceptionalism that motivates most content creators and set apart elites (money aside) into a REAL picture of the individuals in society; far more authentic than ideologically or politically based confirmation bias / cognitive dissonance.
The picture is more bleak because it’s a more widespread problem: populism is popular because most people are reactive talking voting apes without education or capacity to parse reality into truth.
The endless conflation of rhetoric and ideology is a tedious blind alley. To be surprised that Republicans are now openly supporting Russians/Putin by saying “but these guys crowed about winning the Cold War and being against communism” is daft. Right-wingers have always respected power and authority and direct regulation of opposition and society. So now the rhetoric and the ideology have moved closer together. Shouldn’t that be a good thing? Less hypocrisy. Trump a stark contrast to the likes of Hilary Clinton in this regard.
The continued Russia narrative just another in a succession of hyper-normalisation tactics to obfuscate attention, keep the narrative-actors busily arguing in the confusion and leaving what matters to those with hands-on the reigns of power.