Opinion

Social Media Platforms Are Undermining Our Democracy. Lawmakers Need to Step Up and Protect It.

Vasant Dhar

By Helena Rosenblatt and Vasant Dhar

By Helena Rosenblatt and Vasant Dhar

Former President Barack Obama issued a dire warning during his speech at the Democratic National Convention in August: our democratic institutions are under threat like never before.

"Do not let them take away your power, don't let them take away your democracy," Obama said. The people he warned about were clearly Trump and his enablers in the Republican Party.  

But there is a larger threat to liberal democracy: the growing power of social media platforms. The same algorithms that are effective at personalized target marketing have been shown to be effective at mass manipulation. A liberal democracy requires an informed public, not one that can be manipulated psychologically without its awareness.

Read the full Business Insider article.

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Vasant Dhar is Professor of Information Systems.