IQ2 debate: Social media is good for democracy?
Critics argue that rather than uniting and informing, social media deepens social and political divisions and erodes trust in the democratic process.
Will the power of social media yet be harnessed and used as an unprecedented force for good in the world? Or do systemic platform flaws pose an irreversible threat to the world’s democratic institutions?
Emily Parker, writer, digital entrepreneur, and former State Department official, teams up with journalism professor and executive committee member of the Facebook-funded News Integrity Initiative, Jeff Jarvis, to argue for the motion.
On the other side is Franklin Foer, Atlantic staff writer and author of “World Without Mind,” and venture capitalist Roger McNamee, who was an early investor in Facebook and a mentor to Mark Zuckerberg.
The motion: Social media is good for democracy.
Arguing FOR the motion:
Jeff Jarvis, director, Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism.
Jarvis said, “Without social media we would not have had Black Lives Matter or #MeToo or the amazing work of the Parkland students. Social media has already proven to be good for democracy.”
Emily Parker, digital diplomacy adviser and former State Department official.
Parker said, “Social media is a tool. It does not single-handedly create revolutions nor does it single-handedly bring about a change in government.”
Arguing AGAINST the motion:
Franklin Foer, staff writer, The Atlantic.
Foer argued, “We’re becoming a more ideologically polarized society, a more ideologically polarized world. We exist within filter bubbles. Now, social media doesn’t cause this in its entirety, but it has exacerbated that trend.”
Roger McNamee, investor and venture capitalist.
McNamee said, “The future of democracy is in the hands of corporations with user bases as large or larger than the largest religions in the world. These are corporations with authoritarian cultures driven by profits. They favor disinformation over fact because it’s better for engagement.”
The debate was held at the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado.