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Social media is like poison to reasoned debate

It feels like an age ago that Mark Zuckerberg described Facebook as “making the world more open and connected”. We know now that the algorithms that drive users to consume more of the same variety of news and opinion have led to an eternal recurrence of the same beliefs, arguments and dislikes – crack cocaine aimed at deadening the intellect.

At its most toxic, it is being used to sap the lifeblood of political argument, with adverts cynically aimed at driving votes by fomenting anger and malice, rather than engagement.

Social media has become heaven and hell in one. Mr Zuckerberg and other prophets of its healing powers failed to heed warnings that its methodologies divide as much as they unite…

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