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As David Letterman’s first Netflix guest, Barack Obama warns against the ‘bubble’ of social media


David Letterman appears to be taking the title of his new Netflix present very critically: On the very first episode of My Subsequent Visitor Wants No Introduction With David Letterman, he’s joined by former U.S. President Barack Obama.

The episode has loads of humorous moments, like Obama ribbing Letterman about his almost Biblical beard. However they cowl substantive political subjects, too — not simply in the course of the onstage interview, but in addition in Letterman’s stroll throughout Selma’s well-known Edmund Pettus Bridge with Congressman John Lewis.

In truth, Letterman appears to be treating the brand new present as a chance to maneuver somewhat bit away from his typical sardonic model and supply extra depth and seriousness. He ended the interview by telling Obama, “With no query of a doubt, you’re the first president I actually and actually respect.”

On the tech entrance, Obama repeated a number of the factors he made in a latest BBC interview with the U.Ok.’s Prince Harry. After being requested about threats to our democracy, Obama warned in opposition to “getting all of your info off algorithms being despatched via a telephone.”

He famous that he owes a lot of his personal political success to social media, which helped him construct “what ended up being the best political marketing campaign, in all probability in fashionable political historical past.” So he initially had “a really optimistic feeling” in regards to the expertise, however he stated, “I feel that what we missed was the diploma to which people who find themselves in energy … particular pursuits, overseas governments, and so on., can in reality manipulate that and propagandize.”

Obama then recounted a science experiment (“not an enormous scientific experiment, however simply an experiment that any individual did in the course of the revolution that was happening in Egypt”) the place a liberal, a conservative and a “quote-unquote reasonable” had been requested to seek for “Egypt,” and Google introduced every of them with very completely different outcomes.

“No matter your biases had been, that’s the place you had been being despatched, and that will get extra strengthened over time,” he stated. “That’s what’s occurring with these Fb pages the place increasingly more individuals are getting their information from. At a sure level you simply stay in a bubble, and that’s a part of why our politics is so polarized proper now.”

Appropriately for a politician who was so carefully related to hope, Obama additionally supplied some optimism: “I feel it’s a solvable drawback, however I feel it’s one which now we have to spend so much of time interested by.”

Evidently Fb and the opposite huge platforms are at the very least making an attempt to handle the difficulty. Yesterday, for instance, Fb’s Mark Zuckerberg introduced that the social community can be prioritizing “significant social interactions” over information and writer content material.

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