I find james O'Malley's arguments unpersuasive. The supposed lack of academic rigor he cites in each case does not disprove the three assertions he looks at. On the first, the assertion that there are different types of fake news doesn't really have any bearing on the issue. He is disingenuous when he points out the famous Twitter study shows only that the most viral fake news travels faster than the most viral real news, as if that invalidates it; the whole point of the study was to track the most viral news - which is what matters.

But that is just one of many questionable arguments he makes. He is right that each subject deserves more study, but that doesn't disprove them

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First, I suspect that Mr. O'Malley doesn't have any children or close friends with children. Instead, he places his faith in social scientists (omitting Jonathan Haidt, of course), rather than our own 'lyin eyes.'

Second, he presumes that social science CAN discover causation, but that it has not been demonstrated as yet in the case of social media and harm to mental health. However, the methods of social science NEVER demonstrate anything beyond correlation (see David Hume for more on this).

Lastly, how did the 'doom-mongerer' ad hominem slide by the editors at a publication named 'Persuasion'?

In short, unpersuasive!

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I agree and write a post against Jonathan Haidt's article blaming social media for all our ills.


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The general thing with social media, in accordance to research, is that social media is good for democracy but not optimal for democracy.

Because of for example Facebook, more people around the world can express themselves, shape networks, organise themselves. This process is also called "uberisation of politics"

However, social media in general is not optimal for democracy simply because Facebook and Twitter are profit driven private companies. They are not and were never created as non-profit social platforms for digital democracy

Thereby, the future of democracy is also in development of better functioning, more open and decentralised social media https://accidentaleuropean.com/tripadvisor-inspiration-for-our-digital-democracy/

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