I have loved Haidt since I read the Righteous Mind. However, I am not completely onboard with his diagnosis of social media being the root cause. Liberal bias in the media began to creep before social media was really here. Most of the national newspapers except the WSJ were becoming unreadable to anyone except those with left-leaning political views. Then the regional and local papers caught the sickness. It started subtle - choice of what is reported and what is not and where it is placed in the news section... and "but" reporting when on something positive from a conservative view (as in, yeah it is positive, but....). It was like the editors had faded away.

And when you look at the start of social media, the founders all communicated their vision as being open platforms for all.

What happened?

I say critical theory injected into the education system by the 3rd wave feminists who adopted a postmodernist Marxist agenda. As graduates launched into media, tech and politics... the woke sickness just advanced.

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I think it could be a big mistake for the radical left to encourage all these so-called "oppressed" groups. Soon, the groups will start competing with and infighting with each other. Witness the women now being opposed to Transgender in their sports, and the gradual turning of Black and Latino voters more toward the GOP, especially given the lax efforts to control our borders.

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I think you're right about the origin of the issue predating social media; however, I don't know if that really changes Haidt's overall point that social media is what pushed it all into overdrive, dramatically increasing both the distance between the poles of thought as well as the punishing groupthink. Without social media, we have a left-leaning media with some notable exceptions. I think a lot of the power of the elite graduates' in the news media was a result of the massive destruction of media jobs brought about by the gutting of classified ads and other advertisement; suddenly, the only games in town for journalism were the really big players, and they hired their pick of the litter out of ivy league schools.

But without social media, I don't know if we get the constant morality performance and stifling censorship we have now.

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Today 99.7% of Twitter employees that donate to a political party donate to the Democrat party. Twitter began with a credo that it would be a completely open platform. I don't think it is difficult to see what has happened. The tech media companies and the media in general have hired college graduates that have been spoon fed the social justice narrative that has morphed into the posmodernist woke sickness. We have more than a generation of corrupted heads that spread into positions of authority. Yes the media landscape has changed, but the tech media was supposed to be the tonic for the liberal bias of the mainstream media.

Most people do not understand that corporations are just a reflection of the people that run them, and the people that run them are employees of the corporation. I am a CEO of a corporation and even though I have a mostly conservative board of directors I report to, I have this problem in the company that younger employees have adopted these ideas and my board in general is attracted to both the current virtue signaling benefits and the risk avoidance benefits of not being seen as rebellious to non-compliant with the current authority.

The seeds of the problem are planted within the education system. And it has been going on for decades.

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I agree with alot of what Haidt has to say about the causes but he's dead wrong both about the legal status of 230 and the notion that it can be understood as a conditional privlege without doing severe damage to free speech.

To illustrate the point consider welfare. There is no question whatsoever it's a privlege not a right yet free speech as a moral ideal (and I believe the current interpretation of the 1st) doesn't allow the government to condition that privlege on, say, not being a member of the communist party. In general the government can't condition benefits on what kind of speech one engages in (it's more complicated than that, eg, if the speech is closely related to the purposes of the benefit, but to a first approximation.

The same applies to section 230. Moreover, it's not at all obvious that something like the 230 protections themselves aren't required. Section 230 was passed bc there was a case that decided internet forums were publishers of their comments if they engaged in moderation rather than (as booksellers were) mere distributors. That was a dumb deciscion by a judge who didn't understand the internet and it's not at all clear it's how the supreme court would decide the case.

Besides, as a policy matter it's a mistake to open that Pandora's box.

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I share a lot of Haidt's concerns, but I believe he is wrong about anonymity online. Given the social and professional repercussions for questioning woke orthodoxy, many of us need to be anonymous to participate in online conversation.

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